Reform Scotland News: 6 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



Independence debate: Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has called on Alex Salmond to stem the “poison” which he says is threatening to debase the whole referendum debate. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 16)

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.


Newsnight Scotland: Changes to BBC Scotland’s referendum coverage will see Newsnight Scotland cancelled ahead of the referendum, and replaced with a new nightly news programme. (Herald page 1, Daily Mail page 13)


Faslane strikes: As half of the workforce prepares to strike over pay issues, unions warned that there will be significant implications for the naval base’s nuclear and armaments sites including threatening the safety of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 18, Telegraph page 12, Times page 8, Daily Express page 9, Daily Record page 6, Courier page 22)


Clyde Industry: BAE Systems have unveiled their plans for a £200 million frigate factory at the Scotstoun yard that it hopes will secure the future of Clyde shipbuilding for decades; however bosses admit that the scheme might cast the long-term future of their other yard in Govan into doubt. (Herald page 5)


Defence: Senior figures at the Ministry of Defence are urging bosses of defence companies to back the Union and to highlight any potential job losses and disruption that might occur if Scotland were to leave the UK. (Financial Times page 1)

Scottish independence would reignite the debate over the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrent, Trident, as it would potentially drive up the price so much that it may no longer be considered good value for money. (Financial Times page 2)


Grangemouth: Following the sacking of the Grangemouth plant’s union convener Mark Lyon, Johann Lamont, leader of the Scottish Labour Party has criticised the refinery’s owner, Ineos, accusing them of having a “Dickensian” disregard for workers’ rights. (Herald page 3, Scotsman page 18, Courier page 11)


Labour MPs: Scottish Labour MPs in Westminster are reportedly planning to boycott next month’s party conference as anger builds regarding Johann Lamont’s proposals to fully devolve income tax to Holyrood. (Herald page 6)


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.



Budget: A historic deal was struck between Labour and the SNP last night as the Scottish Government’s annual Budget was passed with £35 million set aside to mitigate against the impact of the ‘bedroom tax’ and ensure that no Scot will face eviction over the cuts in housing benefits. (Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 11, Times page 5, Daily Record page 8, Sun page 2, Daily Mail page 19, Press and Journal page 11, Courier page 13)


RBS relocation: Business Secretary Vince Cable has reportedly predicted that, in the event of a Yes vote, RBS would inevitably relocate to London to be “protected against the risk of collapse”. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 16, Telegraph page 2, Times page 2, Financial Times page 2, Daily Express page 1, Guardian page 2, Daily Mail page 1, Courier page 16)


Economy after independence: Three leading economists, Ronald Macdonald of Glasgow University, Dr Angus Armstrong of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, and David Bell of Stirling University, have warned that Scotland faces 25 years of “economic misery” after independence, and have cast doubt on whether Scotland could be part of a sterling zone with the rest of the UK. (Scotsman page 16)


Oil and gas industry: Colin Welsh, Chief executive of Simmons and Company, the oil and gas industry’s leading investment bank, has backed BP boss Bob Dudley in saying that independence will bring the industry under threat, and that the Yes campaign’s reliance on oil and gas in its economic strategy is flawed. (Scotsman page 6, Telegraph page 1, Times page 21, Daily Express page 5, Press and Journal page 13)

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.


Renewables: Michael Fallon, a UK energy minister, has warned that if Scotland were to become independent, the UK would cut renewables investment north of the border and cause Scotland’s green efforts to “grind to a halt”. (Herald page 2)



Corroboration: Kenny MacAskill’s plans to get rid of the corroboration mechanism in criminal trials have been set back after Holyrood’s cross-party Justice Committee said that a case has not been made for change, and recommended that the provisions be removed from the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Bill. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 4, Times page 1, Daily Express page 6, Courier page 13)



Elderly care: Watchdog Audit Scotland has warned that changes to the way that the care of older people is delivered are happening too slowly, and that there is no evidence as to whether the money being spent is actually effective. (Herald page 11, Scotsman page 11, Telegraph page 7, Times page 5, Daily Express page 2, Press and Journal page 12)



Tuition fees: European Union rules which prohibit states from discriminating on the grounds of nationality could see up to 20,000 students from outside Scotland being eligible for free university tuition in the event of a Yes vote. (Telegraph page 12)


Local Government

Glasgow Council: A fourth official at Glasgow City Council, Scotland’s largest local authority, has been suspended as part of an ongoing investigation into financial irregularities. (Herald page 4)


Edinburgh Council: A review of the running of the office of the Lord Provost of Edinburgh has been launched after staff expenses doubled within a year. (Herald page 5)