Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 12 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: The latest YouGov poll shows that the pro-union campaign has regained momentum in the independence battle, opening up a four-point lead over the yes campaign just five days after the same polling organisation put the Yes camp into the lead for the first time. (Herald page 1, Times page 1, Guardian page 1, Courier page 15)
First Minister Alex Salmond is calling for an official inquiry into a reported Treasury briefing to the BBC about RBS’s plans to relocate their headquarters south in the event of a Yes vote, claiming that the Treasury had briefed the BBC with “market sensitive information”. (Scotsman page 9, Times page 11)
The IMF has warned that uncertainty over the currency of an independent Scotland would upset the financial markets in the aftermath of a Yes vote. This news came as five Scottish banks confirmed plans to move their headquarters to England if Scotland leaves the UK, and the Bank of England issued figures showing that an independent Scotland would face tax rises or spending cuts of £21 billion if it were to keep the pound without a formal currency union. (Herald page 9, Scotsman page 1, Telegraph page 1, Financial Times page 1, Page 4, Daily Record page 11, Guardian)
Alex Salmond has shrugged off claims that independence would lead to banks heading south as “scaremongering” orchestrated by Downing Street. (Financial Times page 3, Press and Journal page 11)
Almost 4.3 million people, 97% of the adult population of Scotland, are registered to vote in Thursday’s referendum, making it the largest electorate ever for any ballot in Scotland. (Herald page 10, Scotsman page 11, Daily Record page 7, Courier page 14)
Some of the UK’s biggest retailers including ASDA and John Lewis have warned that a Yes vote in the referendum will lead to higher prices at the till as they no will longer benefit from the efficiencies and economies of scale that being in the UK brings, and will have to pass some of these costs on to the consumer. (Herald page 9, Scotsman page 6, Times page 10, Daily Express page 1, Sun page 7, Guardian page 1)
Nicola Sturgeon addressed an audience of thousands of first-time voters at a BBC debate at the Glasgow Hydro last night, telling them that it is young people which will make an independent Scotland a “roaring success” if it becomes independent. (Scotsman page 10, Sun page 8)
Martin Gilbert, head of Aberdeen Asset Management, has dismissed claims that a Yes vote would harm the Scottish economy, saying that Scotland would prosper whatever the result next week. (Scotsman page 7)
The Institute for Fiscal Studies has warned that an independent Scotland would start life with a bigger black hole in its finances than the rest of the UK and would thus find it hard to maintain current levels of health spending without making cuts to other services. (Herald page 7, Telegraph page 8, Guardian page 7)
As he addressed an audience of 200 at Glasgow University, Scottish historian and Harvard professor Niall Fergusson has predicted that independence would trigger a recession and drop in population and said that he will apply for a US passport in the event of a Yes vote, because his country, Scotland in Great Britain, will have been condemned to death. (Herald page 5)
Sir Mike Rake, President of the CBI, has reportedly claimed that 90% of Scottish businesses oppose independence. (Financial Times page 3)
Labour MPs hoping to convince undecideds in Glasgow were met off the train by a crowd of No voters, an equally big crowd of Yes voters, and a man on a rickshaw playing the Star Wars “imperial march”. (Herald page 7, Daily Record page 3, Sun page 6)
David Cameron, at a reception at Downing Street on Monday evening , finally managed to convince the bosses of British businesses, who have remained silent on the matter for so long, to speak up in favour if the Union. (Financial Times page 1)
Nigel Farage is defying calls to stay away from Scotland from those who say that his efforts to fight for the Union at the UKIP rally in Glasgow will actually boost the Yes campaign. He intends to expose the whole referendum as a “sham”, saying it is less about independence and more about escaping England, as Scotland will just end up swapping Westminster for Brussels. (Herald page 8)
Alex Salmond’s press conference in Edinburgh yesterday, which was supposed to be a love-in with the international media, descended into 90 minutes of heated exchanges, allegations, recriminations, heckling and shouting. (Telegraph page 8, Herald page 9)
Peter Atherton, an energy sector analyst at brokerage firm Liberum, has said that a Yes vote next week will be “a disaster” for renewable energy in Scotland and that the SNP’s two major policies, renewables and independence, are incompatible, highlighting the fact that Scotland, with only 8% of the UK’s population, receives 30% of the renewable energy subsidies from the UK. (Financial Times page 2)
Philip Stephens comments in the Financial Times on the world’s reaction to Scotland wanting to become independent.
Matthew Engel comments in the Financial Times on how hard it is to find a “don’t care” anywhere in Scotland.
Philip Collins comments in the Times on what a Yes vote might mean for New Labour policies.
Tom Devine comments in the Times on how the Catholic vote could affect the referendum result.
Alan Cochrane comments in the Telegraph on Alex Salmond’s response to bad news.
Fraser Nelson comments in the Telegraph on how British reserve may be the undoing of the Union.
Rory Bremner comments in the Telegraph on how he feels about independence.
Alison Rowat comments in the Herald on how reconciliation will be vital in the days following the referendum.
Joyce McMillan comments in the Scotsman that democracy will be the real winner of the referendum.
Quality of life list: Edinburgh has fallen from 2nd to 7th in the MoneySuperMarket Quality of Living Index, a survey rating Britain’s largest cities for quality of life. Glasgow also fell one place to 10th. Dan Plant, consumer finance expert at MoneySuperMarket suggests that the lower positions of the Scottish cities can be explained by a decline in disposable income which has not risen in line with the other cities on the list. (Herald page 1)
Gordon Brown: Former PM Gordon Brown has made the suggestion that he could return to frontline politics in the event of a No vote to fight Alex Salmond on the future of the NHS in Scotland. He accused the First Minister of scaremongering on the issue and peddling the lie that the SNP is powerless to do anything about the NHS under existing powers. (Herald page 7, Scotsman page 8, Telegraph page 9, Daily Express page 3, Daily Record page 10, Courier page 15)
More powers: While backing Gordon Brown’s four-month timetable to produce a new Scotland Bill for further powers in the event of a No vote, former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has said that the three main parties should have come together a year ago to agree on the joint proposals for more powers. (Herald page 10, Scotsman page 9)
Nicola Sturgeon has said that she will fight for more powers for Scotland if it is a No vote in the referendum, saying she will always fight for what is best for Scotland. (Daily Record page 6)
Ferguson Shipyard: Jim McColl, whose company Clyde Blowers Capital is the new owner of Ferguson Shipbuilders, has begun to rehire employees who lost their jobs when the yard went into administration last month, and has outlined plans to invest £8 million in the shipyard over the next two years. (Times page 20, Daily Record page 30)
A&E Crisis: Doctors from three Scottish hospitals have raised serious concerns with the Scottish Government that resources are being spread too thinly and that the system is “fast approaching crisis” (Herald page 7)