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Reform Scotland News: 25 April 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

 

Politics

BBC neutrality: After coming under increasing pressure, the BBC has withdrawn its membership of the Confederation of British Industry after the organisation officially declared its support for the Better Together campaign. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Times page 1, Financial Times page 4, Daily Express page 2)

 

Press freedom: Lord Black of Brentwood, the architect of the new press self-regulation body, has described the implications of a royal charter on press regulation as a “chilling prospect”, and has said that the industry should continue to fight state involvement. (Herald page 2, Telegraph page 8, Daily Mail page 12, Courier page 13)

 

Ed Miliband: As he visits Scotland today, Ed Miliband will reportedly outline his plans to end exploitative zero-hours contracts in an attempt to appeal to Labour supporters who might be considering supporting independence. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Times page 2, Financial Times page 4, Daily Express page 2, Sun page 2, Daily Mail page 1, Press and Journal page 12)

Alison Rowat comments in the Herald that Ed Miliband will have to rebuild trust north of the border if he wants to fight against independence, and that only by first saving themselves as a party in Scotland, might Labour be able to save the Union.

Joyce McMillan comments in the Scotsman that Labour will push Scots towards a Yes vote if they do not distance themselves more from the Conservatives.

 

Boris Johnson: David Cameron has fuelled speculation that Boris Johnson could return to Parliament after reportedly admitting that the current Mayor of London could fight the safe Tory Chief Whip’s seat, which is being vacated by Sir George Young, at the general election. (Telegraph page 1)

In the Times, Rafael Behr suggests that Boris Johnson does not get along with Westminster’s cult of message discipline, and questions whether he belongs in a “zombie parliament” that has had the life drained out of it.

 

Anglican Church: Nick Clegg has called for the disestablishment of the Church of England, claiming that it would be better for everybody if the church and the state were to stand on their own two separate feet. (Telegraph page 1, Guardian page 12)

 

Economy

Scottish pensions: The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries has warned that the Scottish Government would need to spend more money providing pensions to an increasing number of pensioners, and has called on the SNP to provide more detail on how the additional costs and risks of establishing a separate pensions system would be managed. (Herald page 6)

 

North Sea oil: Oxford University Professor of Economics Sir Paul Collier has warned that Scottish ministers’ plans to take over ownership of the British North Sea oil would set a “truly dangerous precedent” around the world. He also suggests that Scotland would be entitled to its population share of the UK’s oil and gas revenue rather than its geographical share, 8% compared to the 90% the SNP is currently promising. (Herald page 7)

 

Education

Film clubs: The Into Film Scotland project, a £500,000 initiative backed by the British Film Institute, will see a catalogue of thousands of films made available, free of charge, to schools across Scotland. It is hoped that the selection of films will inspire and educate pupils, and curriculum materials have also been prepared to aid in the critical discussion of the films. (Herald page 9)

 

Justice

Stalking: As Les Brown was unveiled by the Crown Office as Scotland’s first specialist prosecutor of stalkers, he made a pledge to offer extra protection to victims of the crime. (Herald page 5)

 

Kenny MacAskill: Alex Salmond is being called on to replace Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill amid claims that he can no longer effectively handle the Scottish Government’s Criminal Justice Bill, which was put on hold earlier this week. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 10, Telegraph page 1, Times page 14, Daily Express page 6, Daily Record page 2, Press and Journal page 15, Courier page 20)

Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph on how, undermined and devalued as he is, Kenny MacAskill is unlikely to be sacked with the referendum on the horizon.

 

Prison communication: Colin McKay, Chief Executive of the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland has urged the Scottish Prison Service to allow mothers serving prison sentences to regularly speak to their children through the use of video-calling technology so as to prevent the breakdown of their relationships. (Herald page 12)