Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 1 September 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.
Independence debate: As world leaders prepare to gather for the NATO summit in Wales, former chief of the alliance General Sir Richard Shirreff has branded the SNP’s defence proposals for an independent Scotland “amateurish and unrealistic”. (Scotland on Sunday page 6, Herald page 7, Courier page 16, Telegraph page 9, Daily Express page 5)
Alex Salmond has urged people to avoid Better Together rallies, after the No campaign accused the Yes campaign of “turning sinister”, and Mr Salmond himself was criticised by opponents for refusing to take a hard line on the “mob” of Yes supporters harassing opponents. (Press and Journal page 13, Courier page 14, Telegraph page 8, Times page 1, FT page 3, Daily Express page 4, Sun page 10)
According to think tank the Centre for Economics and Business Research, an independent Scotland would have set-up costs of £2.4bn – ten times more than the Scottish Government’s estimate – and a further £2bn if an independent currency is needed. (Times page 6, Scotsman page 5, Daily Express page 4, Sunday Times page 1, Daily Record page 7)
With only 24 hours to go before the deadline for registering, Alex Salmond has called for the “missing million” who have not yet registered to vote to do so to make sure they can have their say in the referendum. (Daily record page 7, Herald page 6)
John Curtice of Strathclyde University has suggested that the Yes campaign will struggle to win enough traditional labour votes to secure a Yes victory on September 18th. (Sunday Times page 5)
Research by polling firm Panelbase has indicated that floating voters still remain undecided after the last TV debate, despite Alex Salmond’s success. (Sunday Times page 4)
Paul McCartney has become the latest celebrity to come out in favour of Scotland remaining in the UK. (Sunday Times page 5)
UKIP leader Nigel Farage is to head to Glasgow to lead a pro-union rally just days before the referendum. (Daily Express page 5)
In the Sun, Bill Leckie talks to David Cameron about the independence referendum.
David Torrance comments in the Herald on the egalitarianism in the Scottish establishment.
Billy Bragg comments in the Sunday Herald on how a Yes vote would help England rediscover its radical heart.
Jim Sweeney comments in Scotland on Sunday that, whatever the result of the referendum, Scotland needs to strengthen its responsibility to its young people.
In the Sunday Times, Tom Holland argues that the Scottish split from the UK would be the worst break-up since the Beatles.
Polling day fears: Alistair Darling is to meet with police as the No campaign raise concerns that there will be “absolute carnage” on polling day amid a growing atmosphere of intimidation by the Yes campaign which saw Jim Murphy shouted down and pelted with eggs. (Herald page 1)
The expected high turnout for the independence referendum and the “high tensions” involved have prompted electoral authorities to discuss the issue of extra policing at polling stations on September 18th. (Herald page 6, Sunday Times page 4)
Brian Monteith comments in the Scotsman on the election intimidation that is plaguing the referendum campaign.
SNP contingency plan: Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney have reportedly told civil servants to start planning for a No vote, amid concerns that the SNP would be considered a “lame duck” government and do badly in the 2016 Scottish Parliament elections if independence is rejected this September. (Telegraph page 9, Daily Record page 7)
Devolution: Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael has vowed to “finish the job of devolution” if Scotland votes No in the independence referendum, and has confirmed that informal negotiations have already taken place between the Lib Dem, Conservative and Labour Parties. (Scotsman page 6)
Former Scottish Conservative chairman Peter Duncan comments in the Sunday Times and
has warned that David Cameron must offer to devolve income tax to the Scottish Parliament to secure a No vote in the referendum. (Sunday Times page 5)
Political deadlock: As MPs return to Westminster, leading parties face a political deadlock, as the latest Populus/FT poll reveals that the political views of the electorate have remained static over the past 9 months. (FT page 2)
Scotland in the EU: Former Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray has rejected claims that an independent Scotland might be barred from the EU. (Sunday Times page 5)
iScotland debt: Despite calls from Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, Alex Salmond has refused to withdraw his threat to renege on an independent Scotland’s debt obligations if the Scottish Government are unable to secure a currency union with the rest of the UK. (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 4)
Pensions: The SNP have pledged to guarantee that pensions in an independent Scotland will match the level of current UK spate pensions. (Scotsman page 5, Daily Record page 7)
Lesley Riddoch comments in the Scotsman on how pension worries may lead to more senior citizens voting No.
Brain drain: Universities north of the Border are bracing themselves for a brain drain of their most talented scientists if Scotland votes Yes in the independence referendum, as many academics prepare to relocate through fear that some of Scotland best-known universities will lose access to billions of pounds of funding and projects supported by British research councils. (Guardian page 1)
NHS Privatisation: Alex Salmond has been accused of “rank hypocrisy” and “duplicity” over his warnings about the privatisation of the NHS after it was revealed that the health service in Glasgow has awarded a major contract to a private American slimming company. (Telegraph page 1)
Childhood cancer: Scotland’s childhood cancer death rate has fallen by more than a third in the last decade. (Scotsman page 15,)
Speeding tactics: In a move away from what many have referred to as a target culture, police are now issuing fewer fines and more verbal warnings to motorists caught creeping over the speed limit. (Herald page 1)
Police ethics: The Scottish Police Authority (SPA), the police watchdog for Scotland, is at the centre of a row with Police Scotland over plans to set up an ethics panel. SPA members have expressed their frustration at not being consulted about the move, which comes as a result of growing public concern over the arming of police officers and stop-and-searches. (Scotsman page 9)
Against a backdrop of spending cuts to the police service, searches by Police Scotland, with no legal basis and where nothing was found, have been revealed to have cost the taxpayer £10 million in the last year. (Sunday Herald page 3)