Reform Scotland News: 8th 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


Child abuse investigation: Home Secretary Theresa May has announced an independent inquiry into the way historic allegations of sexual abuse of children were handled by public bodies.  There will also be a separate inquiry into the Home Office’s own investigation of how the government handled allegations of abuse in the 1980s and how it lost 114 submitted papers. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 2, Colette Douglas Home, Times page 1, Record page 4, P&J page 19, Sun page 1, Express page 5, FT page 3, Telegraph page 4Eileen Fairweather in the Telegraph, Mail page 6, Guardian page 1David Mellor in the Guardian, Courier page 13)
Independence and space: Dr Malcolm Macdonald of the Strathclyde Space Initiative at Strathclyde University has suggested in a report that an independent Scotland could gain access to millions of pounds from the European Space Agency. (Scotsman 
page 6)
EU membership: Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, a professor of European and human rights law at Oxford University, has suggested that Scotland need not go through “a cumbersome accession process as a new member state” but become an EU member through treaties being amended. (Scotsman page 6, Times page 16, Courier page 14)
Italy has implied the EU will remain neutral on independence as it takes over the bloc’s rotating presidency, marking a departure from the position of departing EU commissioner Jose Manuel Barroso who had publicly argued it would be difficult for Scotland to rejoin the bloc in the event of a Yes vote. (Herald 
page 6)
New unionism
Peter Jones in the Scotsman comments on Gordon Brown’s vision of the Union as an enabler and facilitator for Scots.
SNP bullying allegations: Following claims that senior SNP figures had put pressure on Scottish businesses to silence them in the independence debate, Alastair Darling has commented that the allegations were ‘shining a light on Scotland which brings shame on our country’. (Herald 
page 6, P&J page 13, FT page 2, Mail page 4, Courier page 14)
Scottish Financial Enterprise: The First Minister reportedly phoned the chairman of Scottish Financial Enterprise last November to discourage him from publishing a briefing paper on the referendum. (Telegraph 
page 1)
Ruth Davidson: Ruth Davidson in the Express outlines why she believes most young Scots want Scotland to stay in the Union.
Corporation tax: A study by Durham University economist Richard Harris argued that the SNP’s post-independence corporation tax plan would be insufficient to close the productivity gap with the rest of the UK. (Herald 
page 6, Times page 16, Record page 2)
Independence polling: SNP MSP Bruce Crawford has urged information commissioners in both England and Scotland to make public unpublished UK Government polling about attitudes on Scottish independence. (Herald 
page 6, P&J page 12)
North Sea helicopter safety: MPs have called for an independent public enquiry following a report from the Commons Transport Committee which highlighted ‘troubling evidence about a macho bullying culture in the oil and gas industry’. The issue was examined after some MPs argued a review by the Civil Aviation Authority into the fatal Super Puma helicopter crash last August had not looked at the impact of commercial pressure on helicopter safety. (Herald 
page 1, Times page 6, Record page 18, P&J page 2)
The Civil Service: Rachel Sylvester in the Times comments that permanent secretaries who run Whitehall departments have too much power.
Parliamentary reform: A committee of 21 MPs from 7 parties have set out proposals to give voters stronger powers to sack MPs; these proposals go further than those outlined by the Government. (Herald 
page 6)
Scottish shipbuilding: Sir Roger Carr of BAE Systems commented that the UK government has made it clear it would not commission warships from Scotland post-independence. He also commented that in the event of a Yes vote it would be feasible to switch shipbuilding from Scotland to Portsmouth. (Times page 2, Sun page 4, Express page 2, Telegraph page 3, Mail page 4)

The Recovery: Hugo Rifkind in the Times comments that optimism over improving GDP growth disguises the weak nature of recovery in other indicators such as productivity and GDP per capita.


Coulson trial: Andy Coulson is to appear at the High Court in Glasgow next month to face perjury charges related to the Tommy Sheridan trial. (Scotsman page 1, Herald page 1, Times page 16, Express page 9, Telegraph page 2, Mail page 25, Courier page 13)

Cocaine:  A UN report has claimed that 1 in 42 Scots use cocaine, higher than anywhere else in the world. (Sun page 1)

Ambulance times: Ambulances took more than 20 minutes to respond to life-threatening incidences on 2,692 occasions in 2013/14. (Scotsman page 16, Herald page 3, Record page 8, P&J page 7)
NHS funding: 
David Maddox in the Scotsman comments that the NHS accounts for over 18p out of every £1 of tax in the UK.


Network Rail: Network Rail has been fined £53 million because it “failed to deliver” on major commuter and long-distance punctuality last year. (Scotsman page 13, Record page 18)