Reform Scotland News: 7 July 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



Independence debate: The Scottish Government has been accused by MPs of presenting such uncertain information about pensions in an independent Scotland that it amounts to the “biggest mis-selling scandal in history”. (Herald page1, Scotsman page 5, Telegraph page 7, Times page 1, FT page 2, Daily Express page 5, Daily Record page 2, Daily Mail page 1, Press and Journal page 13, Courier page 19)

Alistair Darling has expressed his growing confidence that the people of Scotland will reject independence in September as the latest TNS snapshot poll placed support for a No vote up four percentage points at 46% and support for Yes at 32%. (Herald page 6, Times page 2, Sunday Times page 1, Daily Mail page 14, Press and Journal page 11, Courier page 19)

The Better Together campaign has called for an investigation into allegations that senior SNP figures pressured Scottish firms to stay out of the independence debate. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 1, Times page 21, Daily Express page 1, Sun page 2, Daily Mail page 6, Press and Journal page 13)

The UK government have been accused of “utterly unacceptable behaviour” by the SNP after further details emerged regarding the scale of the diplomatic support given to Alistair Darling to help him promote the Union in the United States earlier this year. (Sunday Herald page 20)

Whisky distillers William Grant and Sons, the makers of Glenfiddich malt whisky, have donated £100,000 to the Better Together campaign. (Sunday Herald page 19)

Nobel laureate Sir Paul Nurse has urged both the UK and Scottish parliaments to pledge that academics who enter the debate on independence will not be penalised for expressing their views. (Scotland on Sunday page 1)

The Orange Order has vowed that their referendum-eve march in support of the Union will still go ahead despite violence disrupting their walk in Glasgow. (Sunday Herald page 3)

Neal Ascherson comments in the Sunday Herald on how, regardless of the result of September’s referendum, we are already independent today.

David Torrance comments in the Herald on how the SNP are highly sensitive about Scottish sovereignty in a UK context, but strangely relaxed about it at the EU level.

Gerry Braiden comments in the Herald on the involvement of security and intelligence services in the independence debate.

Lesley Riddoch comments in the Scotsman on whether or not coming out in favour of supporting the No campaign can help you get things such as funding applications approved.

John Innes comments in the Sunday Times that the Union has run its course and we should now seize the moment and go for growth.

Allan Massie comments in Scotland on Sunday that Scots should read Walter Scott’s debut novel Waverley in the run up to the referendum, as the underlying themes are important and still relevant today.



Public sector wages: As one million state workers prepare to strike over pay, Conservative ministers have signalled that a public sector wage freeze could last until 2018, and that new legislation could be introduced to make industrial action more difficult. (Herald page 3)


Oil and gas: The Independent Commission for Oil and Gas has said that it is essential for radical fiscal and regulatory changes in Scotland’s oil and gas industry to be made to ensure that the remaining resources provide the greatest economic benefits possible. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 5, Telegraph page 9, Daily Express page 2, Daily Record page 10, Press and Journal page 12, Courier page 19)


Interest rates: Mike Amery of Pimco, the world’s largest investor in government bonds, has said that the rate of interest paid by an independent Scotland would be higher than that of the UK. (Herald page 6)


Productivity gap: Research from the Durham University Business School has raised questions about the strength of Scotland’s economy after finding that Scotland suffers from a large and persistent productivity gap with the rest of the UK. (FT page 4)



Stop-and-search: According to a series of police interviews, officers are making up between 50% and 90% of their stop-and-searches and are bullied by senior figures into increasing the number of frisks carried out. (Sunday Herald page 4)



College mergers: It has been revealed that the controversial policy to merge Scottish colleges has cost more than £5 million so far in severance deals to senior managers. (Herald page 1)



Psychiatrist shortage: Scotland faces an acute shortage of psychiatrists after one of the worst NHS recruitment rounds in history resulted in just 6 out of 34 jobs for senior doctors specialising in general adult psychiatry being filled, and many training posts for child, adolescent and old-age psychiatry being left vacant. (Herald page 5)


Ageing population: Kezia Dugdale comments in the Daily Record on how the NHS in Scotland needs to plan ahead for a future nation of centenarians.



Prestwick airport: Brian Monteith comments in the Scotsman on how throwing money at Prestwick airport will probably end badly.