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


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

Thursday 20 March

Budget: Bill Jamieson comments in the Scotsman that, despite the upbeat tone of Osborne’s Budget yesterday, which seemed to suggest that sunny skies are ahead, it was a Budget with dark matter at its heart as the worst is far from over and there will need to be years of cuts come in order to combat the rising tide of national debt.

Peter Oborne comments in the Telegraph that this was Osborne’s fifth and best budget so far, and that it shows that the Lib-Dems and the Tories can work creatively together. He suggests that the best chance the Conservatives have of winning the 2015 election is to renew their vows with the Liberal Democrats.

Crimea: Iain MacWhirter comments in the Herald that there is a danger to the West in talking tough on Ukraine, and that we should be wary of drawing provocative historical comparisons.

Wednesday 19 March

Devolution: David Bell in the Scotsman, George Kerevan in the Scotsman and Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comment on Scottish Labour’s Devolution Commission’s new report.

Independence debate: Iain MacWhirter in the Herald argues that George Osborne’s declaration that an independent Scotland would not be allowed to enter into a currency union with the rest of the UK has effectively destabilised the Yes campaign.

John Curtice in the Herald argues that despite George Osborne’s currency announcement, recent polls have suggested that the No campaign’s lead in the polls is narrowing.

Budget: Mary Riddell in the Telegraph comments on George Osborne’s attempts to appeal to the “struggling classes”.

Allister Heath in the Telegraph argues that George Osborne should adopt distinctive ideas to differentiate the government from Labour.

Tuesday 18 March

Independence: Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph comments on how Scotland’s referendum could provide a model for the 2017 vote on Britain remaining in the EU.

NHS prescriptions: Joan McAlpine comments in the Daily Record on the importance of maintaining free prescriptions in Scotland.

Monday 17 March

Scottish Conservative Party conference: John McAnally in The Daily Telegraph argues that a vote for independence would “fatally undermine the Armed Forces on both sides of the border”, and would force Britain to abandon its nuclear weapons.

David Torrance in The Herald discusses Conservative Party’s reactions to the independence referendum.

Andrew Marr Show: Lesley Riddoch in The Scotsman comments on the need for the BBC to equally scrutinise both Unionist and Nationalist views on Independence.  

Independence debate: Brian Monteith writing in The Scotsman argues that the Yes campaign needs to promote a more positive front in their reasons for maintaining the Union.

Friday 14 March

Scottish Tories: Alan Cochrane comments, on page 4 of the Telegraph, that the postponement of discussions on devolution has left a “hole in the middle” of the Scottish Conservative annual conference.