Reform Scotland News: 6 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

 

Politics

Obama on independence: Barack Obama backed a “strong, robust, united and effective” UK when asked about the future of Scotland at a press conference with David Cameron following the G7 summit in Brussels. In response, Alex Salmond has quoted his famous campaign slogan “yes we can” back at him. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 1, Sun page 1, Daily Record page 1, Daily Express page 1, FT page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 1, Guardian page 2, Daily Mail page 1, Press and Journal page 11, Courier page 13)

Hamish Macdonnell comments in the Times that President Obama’s comments may not be such a boost for the Better Together campaign, as he is no longer the galvanising force for change that he once was.

 

Independence debate: According to research by Edinburgh University, the number of 16 and 17 year olds who plan to vote Yes in the referendum has increased sharply in the last year, but a substantial majority still oppose the idea of independence. (Herald page 6, Telegraph page 14, Courier page 19)

Alex Salmond has demanded an apology after the UK Treasury used Lego figures to illustrate twelve different ways Scottish voters could spend their £1,400 “UK dividend”. It was supposed to be a humorous way to make people aware of the amount the Treasury says Scottish people will be better off by if they stay in the Union, but Mr Salmond called the stunt a “patronising gimmick”. (Scotsman page 7, Sun page 5, Daily Express page 6, FT page 2, Times page 7, Daily Mail page 5, Press and Journal page 11)

Alison Rowat comments in the Herald on the various calls that have been made for increased decency in the independence debate, and says that when the future of our country is at stake, there is no room for polite debate.

Joyce McMillan comments in the Scotsman that Ed Miliband’s response to the Queen’s Speech was impressive, and that the plan for government he outlined is a better reason to vote No in the referendum than the scare stories we are always hearing about.

 

Al Megrahi appeal: Family members of Abdelbaset Ali Mohamed al Megrahi, along with a number of British relatives of those who died in the Lockerbie bombing, are backing a legal bid to posthumously clear his name. Their lawyers claim to have found evidence that the Scottish Government put pressure on him to drop his previous appeal. (Herald page 4, Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 14, Daily Mail page 14, Courier page 2)

 

Tram inquiry: Alex Salmond has announced that a judge-led inquiry has been launched to uncover the reasons why the Edinburgh trams project spiralled so much beyond its original budget and timescale. (Herald page 5, Scotsman page 1, Sun page 12, Daily Record page 2, Daily Express page 6, Daily Mail page 12, Press and Journal page 16, Courier page 19)

 

Newark by-election: The Conservatives have seen off a challenge by UKIP to win the Newark by-election by a majority of more than 7,000. (BBC News)

 

Ukraine: In face-to-face talks about the Ukraine crisis, David Cameron has sent Vladimir Putin a “very clear and firm set of messages”, telling the Russian leader that the current situation with his troops in Crimea is not acceptable. (Herald page 2, Guardian page 2, Press and Journal page 23)

 

Economy

Minimum wage: Vince Cable has warned that thousands of low-paid workers could lose their jobs if the minimum wage were to rise by a fifth after independence as the SNP have suggested. He also accused the SNP of politicising the issue in an attempt to win the referendum. (Herald page 6)

 

Car sales: Figures from the Scottish Motor Trade Association show that new car registrations in Scotland grew at double the rate of the UK, in what is a sign of the increasing optimism of consumers north of the border. (Herald page 10)

 

Oil discrepancies: Alex Salmond has been challenged after one of his economic advisers, Andrew Hughes Hallett, reportedly produced figures suggesting that the Scottish Government’s oil revenue forecasts were inflated by around £2 billion. (Scotsman page 7, Press and Journal page 11)

 

European Bank: Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, has slashed deposit rates to negative 0.1%, in an unprecedented attempt to get Europe’s banks to lend, and in a bid to prevent another Eurozone crisis. (Sun page 2, FT page 1, Courier page 19)

 

Immigration: Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have underlined the need to increase Scotland’s working-age population to support the provision of future pensions. A key part of Alex Salmond’s economic plan is to boost this with increased migration of skilled workers to Scotland, however the ONS statistics also reveal that the figures are short by around 8,000, with current net immigration standing at 14,000, as opposed to 22,000. (Herald page 6, Daily Express page 6, Times page 7, Daily Mail page 5)

 

Education

National exams: Phil Jackson, outgoing president of the Educational Institute of Scotland, Scotland’s largest teaching union, has warned that the education system is “at a crossroads” and that teachers, and pupils, should never again have to endure the kind of stress they have this year as a result of the new National exams. He also called for an end to the ‘work-until-you-drop’ culture. (Herald page 1, Scotsman page 10, Times page 2, Courier page 18)

 

Education statistics: Figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown that more than two fifths of people in Scotland aged 25-64 are educated to college or university level, making Scotland the most highly educated country in Europe, and among the most educated countries in the world. (Scotsman page 8, Daily Record page 25, Times page 7)

 

Health

Assisted suicide: The Faculty of Advocates, which represents the Scottish bar, has criticised the proposal for new laws that may legalise assisted suicide, calling the plans “complex and confusing”. Leading lawyers are claiming that people who help a friend end their life could still face prosecution even if the laws are passed. (Herald page 14)

 

Alcohol: Gerry Braiden comments in the Herald on the mixed messages that are given in Scotland regarding alcohol consumption