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Reform Scotland News: 28 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

Scotland and the EU: As Alex Salmond declares that Scotland will be a “lynchpin” of the EU, Foreign Secretary William Hague has challenged him to clarify to voters the SNP’s position on key European issues an independent Scotland would face. (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 1, Guardian page 6, Courier page 15, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, FT page 2, Sun page 2)

 

Salmond on Putin: Alex Salmond has been criticised after reportedly saying, in an interview with former Labour strategy director Alastair Campbell, that he admired certain aspects of Vladimir Putin’s leadership. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 4, Daily Mail page1, Press and Journal page 11, Courier page 15, Telegraph page 8, Daily Express page 1, Sun page 1)

 

David Cameron: Tim Shipman comments in the Sunday Times on how David Cameron has been temporarily spared by Conservatives who were plotting to oust him, because making him into a Eurosceptic is now being seen as a better way of winning the election.

 

CMU: Scotland’s 17,000 postal workers have been urged to vote against Scottish independence by the Communications Workers Union, after a motion was passed at the union’s annual conference. (Herald page 6, Courier page 15, Telegraph page 7, Daily Express page 2, Daily record page 2, Sun page 2)

 

CBI: Pro-independence business group Business for Scotland has described the position of John Cridland, Head of the Confederation of British Industry, as “untenable”, following a row sparked by the CBI’s support of the No campaign and the subsequent U-turn and the announcement that the organisation’s Scottish boss was to take early retirement later in the year. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 6, Daily Mail page 4, Press and Journal page 12, Courier page 15, Times page 2, Daily Record page 2, Sun page 2, Sunday Times page 19)

 

Referendum Campaign: Scottish singer Paolo Nutini has predicted that “fear and scaremongering” by the No Campaign will drive people towards voting Yes in the independence referendum. (Sunday Times page 7)

Scottish actor Ken Stott has spoken out in favour of Scottish independence. He believes that the government of an independent Scotland could offer new tax breaks to filmmakers, and give the Scottish film industry a much needed boost. (Scotsman page 6, Sunday Times page 7)

Dyfrig John, a non-executive director of banking giant Lloyds, has claimed that financial institutions could desert Scotland if there is a Yes vote in September, and that other parts of the UK would benefit from this. (Herald page 6)

David Cameron has warned that whispering against the Better Together campaign by fellow No supporters should stop because it is helping the nationalists. (Sunday Times page7)

The pro-independence movement has been accused of using dummy organisations to get around spending laws, after it was revealed that a Christian pro-independence group received a six-figure sum to spend on campaigning. (Telegraph page 6, Daily Express page 2, Sunday Times page 7)

The Labour Party showed their clear intention to fight for the United Kingdom yesterday, as two senior figures, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, and former Home Secretary John Reid both launched criticisms into key aspects of the Nationalists’ agenda. (Times page 2, Daily Express page 2, Daily Record page 2)

Brian Monteith comments in the Scotsman that Alex Salmond’s promise that an independent Scotland would help the North of England challenge the dominance of the South is just further use of his favoured “divide and rule” strategy, and an attempt to turn England against itself.

David Torrance comments in the Herald that we should be aware of false distinctions in the independence debate, and that there are no fundamental differences between the values of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

Gillian Bowditch and Jason Allardyce comment in the Sunday Times that, to save the Union, Gordon Brown must be a strategist and not just a mouthpiece, but that he has a gravitas and intellectual firepower that might just be what the No campaign needs right now.

 

UKIP criticism: Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has attacked UKIP for attracting racist activists, and urged Nigel Farage to condemn a recent series of controversial comments from his candidates and supporters. This comes as the weekend YouGov poll shows UKIP surging into the lead in the Euro elections. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 1, Sun page 2, Sunday Times page 2)

 

Tree planting: Leading ecologist, Dr James Fenton has attacked the plans of RSPB Scotland to plant 100,000 trees in Speyside, saying that the trees will destroy the “Scottishness of the hills. He claims that the plans go against the trends of long-term natural succession, and will create an unnatural landscape. (Herald page 9)

 

Child Ashes: An overhaul of the Scottish Law, and a memorial for all the children whose remains were never returned to their parents, have been proposed in an inquiry into the nation’s baby cremation scandal. (Sunday Times page 1)

 

Economy

Games boost: In a government report outlining the legacy of the 2014 commonwealth games, it has been revealed that Scotland’s economy has been boosted by £52 million and that 1,000 jobs have been created in the 6 years since Glasgow was awarded the event. (Herald page 8)

 

Health

MS treatment: The MS Society has said that hundreds of Scottish multiple sclerosis sufferers are not receiving the treatment they need, because a shortage of specialists, information and funding north of the border means that Scotland is trailing other parts of the UK when it comes to access to treatment. (Herald page 8)

 

E-cigarettes: A survey by YouGov has found that the percentage of people smoking electronic cigarettes has increased five-fold in the last four years. Health Charity ASH Scotland, who commissioned the research, says that the findings show the need for increased public debate regarding the smoking simulators. (Scotsman page 10, Herald page 9, Press and Journal page 14, Courier page 17)

 

Education

SQA debt: The Scottish Qualifications Authority has been bailed out by the Government after accumulating debts of around £3 million. It is thought that the deficit is partly due to the increasing costs of delivering the controversial new school qualifications. (Herald page 1)

 

Edward Snowden: As part of his new role as rector of Glasgow University, whistleblower Edward Snowden will reportedly hold video surgeries for students to discuss their problems. Despite strong support from students, several campus bodies have expressed concerns over his ability to represent students remotely from Russia, where he has been given temporary asylum. (Herald page 10)

 

Justice

Faculty of Advocates: Top advocate Siggi Bennett, a member of the Scottish bar since 1982, has described the Faculty of Advocates, the organisation representing Scotland’s advocates, as reactionary and undemocratic. He has claimed that the Faculty suffers from a “chronic lack of transparency”, and that it is failing to protect its members’ interests against the threat from solicitor-advocates. (Herald page 7)