Reform Scotland News: 16 June 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



Devolution: The leaders of Scotland’s three main opposition parties will today issue a joint statement committing their parties to transferring more power to Scotland’s parliament in the event of a No vote. (Scotland on Sunday page 6, Press and Journal page 13, Courier page 17, Sun page 2, Telegraph page 8, Times page 1, Financial Times page 3)

Alistair Carmichael has suggested that powers be devolved to an English parliament after the independence referendum to end the anomaly of Scottish MPs being able to vote on laws that only affect England. (Telegraph page 10)


Internet abuse: The moderator of the Church of Scotland has revealed that he has been targeted by “cyber bullies” from both sides of the referendum debate trying to exert pressure on him. (Scotsman page 1)

Alex Salmond has been accused by the Scottish Labour Party of personally orchestrating the internet abuse of people opposed to independence. (Financial Times page 3)

Frank Mulholland, the Lord Advocate, has warned Cybernats and No trolls to stop using social media to make abusive remarks or risk prison. (Sunday times page 1, Daily Express page 7)


Independence debate: The results of an ICM opinion poll on the effect of the independence campaign on the social fabric of Scotland reveals the social cost of the referendum:  split families, rows with friends and fears of a divided nation. (Scotland on Sunday page 1, Press and Journal page 12, Courier page 16)

Yes Scotland is facing accusations that they used “front” groups to bypass funding regulations in order to secure more donations than Better Together. (Telegraph page 10, Daily Express page 7)

Former First Minister Jack McConnell has insisted that Scotland can have different immigration and welfare laws and still remain in the United Kingdom. (Daily Record page 9)

A group of Scotland’s most influential clan chiefs are to declare their neutrality over independence this week. (Telegraph page 10)

A Panelbase survey has revealed the closest results yet for the independence referendum, with the figures standing at 48% voting Yes and 52% voting No once undecideds have been removed. (Sunday Herald page 11, Times page 8)

Quebec independence experts Bernard Drainville and Alain Gagnon have warned Scots that they will pay the price in reduced power and influence at Westminster if they do not vote for independence in September. (Herald page 6)

Three pro-independence groups have refused to take part in debates involving disgraced politician Tommy Sheridan, with many saying that they believe he is using the campaign to gain publicity for an appeal against his perjury convictions. (Sunday Herald page 16, Daily Express page 7)

An ICM poll has revealed that half of Scottish people believe that independence would put Scotland at risk, while one in five believe Scotland will be at risk if it stays in the UK. (Scotsman page 4)

Pat Kane comments in the Scotsman that the independence referendum will have had momentous, “awakening” consequences regardless of the final outcome.

Ian Bell comments in the Sunday Herald on J. K. Rowling’s 1,500 word epistle on independence.

Gillian Bowditch and Jason Allardyce comment in the Sunday Times on celebrities getting involved in the independence campaign.

In the Sun, Bill Leckie asks Alex Salmond what he would say to convince him he is wrong to vote No.


Gordon Brown: Gordon Brown has launched a 10-point plan for Scotland to “unite unionists and separatists”. (Times page 8)

David Torrance comments in the Herald that Gordon Brown’s plans for the UK amount to federalism in all but name.


Island powers: Today Alex Salmond sets out his plans to give more powers to Scotland’s Islands in the event of Scotland becoming independent. (Press and Journal page 12, Daily Record page 9)


Scotland on the BBC: An ex-BBC staffer has said that the BBC needs to “sharpen up” its coverage of Scotland and start treating Scottish nationalists with more respect. (Sunday Times page 4)


Tobacco packaging: Scottish anti-smoking group ASH have accused the American tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) of trying to derail Scotland’s attempts to reduce smoking, saying that PMI’s campaign to expose the illicit tobacco trade in Scotland exaggerated the scale of the problem. PMI have previously warned that plainly packaged cigarettes will exacerbate the problem as they are easier to fake. (Sunday Times page 9)


Nuclear weapons: Nicola Sturgeon has revealed that The SNP is to propose that the removal of nuclear weapons from Scotland be enshrined in the constitution of an independent Scotland. (Scotland on Sunday page 8)

Nicholas Burns, former US ambassador to NATO has anticipated that an independent Scotland’s application to NATO would be vetoed unless the SNP drop their commitment to remove the UK’s nuclear submarines from Scottish waters. (Sunday Times page 4)


Blair on Iraq: Tony Blair has been attacked by critics, including Alex Salmond, after insisting that the current insurgency in Iraq is not a consequence of the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein. (Scotsman page 6, Daily Mail page 1, Courier page 16, Daily Record page 2, Telegraph page 2)


Energy switching: Under plans put forward by energy regulator Ofgem, due to be implemented from December 31st, consumers will be able to switch energy supplier within two-and-a-half weeks. (Herald page 2, Guardian page 9, Courier page 23)


Lib-Dem manifesto: Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will today promise not to design his party’s 2015 election manifesto simply to appeal to Labour or the Conservatives, and will instead pledge a series of “Independent” liberal policies. (Herald page 6, Guardian page 9)



Borrowing: Under plans outlined for the first time by Finance Secretary John Swinney, an independent Scotland will borrow billions of pounds in the initial years after leaving the UK to kick-start the economy and bring an end to austerity. (Herald page 1)


Pensions: The Pensions Policy Institute is to warn this week that an independent Scotland will find it harder to support the state pension than the UK, and that Scottish ministers might have to either raise taxes or cut spending in order to plug the shortfall. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 5, Press and Journal page 12)


Growth: According to an Ernst and Young report, the Scottish economy is set to exceed previous growth expectations and grow by 2.4% in 2014. (Herald page 7, Press and Journal page 32)



Future of Scotland: A group of former university principals have made a joint statement highlighting the risks of independence and backing the union for the brightest future. (Times page 7