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Reform Scotland 26 January 2015

Reform Scotland
Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 26 January 2015
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
Home Rule:  The Campaign for Scottish Home Rule is launching a Scotland-wide consultation process to gauge the views of the public on the Smith Commission proposals and what sort of Home Rule settlement people in Scotland would like to see (Sunday Herald pages 1, 10&11)

Henry McLeish in the Sunday Times says the Smith proposals fail to give Holyrood meaningful control over domestic policy, and that the UK government and the traditional parties have failed to grasp the seriousness of the constitutional issue (pages 2&29)

Smith Proposals:  Much of the press is dominated by the Smith proposals.  The SNP are putting pressure on the UK Government for a better deal, with John Swinney claiming it is vital that the 12 vetoes, which could hamper Holyrood making its own decisions on welfare, energy and transport, are removed; while Alistair Carmichael claims there are no vetoes (Sunday Herald pages 1, 10&11, Scotsman page 6, Daily Record page 2, National page 4)

The Chancellor and the Work and Pensions Secretary made a last minute bid to retain control over aspects of income tax and benefits that are to be transferred to Holyrood (Scotland on Sunday page 9, Sun page 2)

Iain Macwhirter in the Sunday Herald suggests that Scotland is on a trajectory out of the UK, and the Smith proposals have already become obsolete

Gillian Bowditch in the Sunday Times discusses the Smith proposals, suggesting they have fired a starting gun in the race for influence in the general election (page 21)

In the Herald, David Torrance accuses the SNP of ‘grievance politics’ over their reaction to the Smith proposals

Andrew Nicoll in the Sun argues that the Smith proposals are a substantial new package of powers and contemplates whether Scotland will dare to be different from Westminster on taxes (page 6)

In the Times, Adam Tomkins suggests that welfare devolution is complex as it is not possible to sever it from matters that must remain reserved, but believes that we will get it right (page 25)

Westminster Coalitions:  According to Tom Peterkin in Scotland on Sunday, Labour politicians are alarmed by Ed Miliband’s refusal to rule out a deal with the SNP in the general election

In the Guardian, Lord Mandelson suggests that Labour supporters would find it easier to stomach a coalition with the Lib-Dems than the SNP and must plan properly for this

Labour have accused Nicola Sturgeon of “horse trading” with national security after she said scrapping Trident would be the key to a coalition deal after the general election, while she outlines that a Labour-SNP coalition could be a progressive force (Herald page 6, Mailpage 4, Daily Record page 2, Times page 10, National pages 4&5, Telegraph page 8)

In the Mail, Alex Massie suggests that Labour must do better than simply echo the SNP position on issues, with Jim Murphy on course to disappoint those who hoped for better quality opposition in Holyrood (page 14)

Ed Miliband:  Ed Miliband has suggested that Labour would change broadcasting rules to keep major sporting events off subscription channels such as Sky Sports (Daily Record page 2)

Voters Trust:
  In the Sun, a Survation study has shown that voters trust in Labour has fallen because of their pact with the Conservatives during the referendum campaign (page 2)

Jim Murphy:  There is uncertainty after the Scottish Labour leader hints at standing down as an MP, but does not rule out running for Westminster (Scotsman page 7, Sun page 2, P&J page 13

Greens:  A YouGov survey has shown a surge in support for the Greens, potentially costing Labour 22 seats (Express page 2)

SNP:  In the Scotsman, Brian Monteith comments on the structural deficit in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon:  On the Andrew Marr show, the First Minister said that falling oil prices had not put her off the idea of independence, but that the SNP would fight for a devo-max set up in the UK (Sun page 2)

TV Debates:  Alex Salmond in the Press and Journal says that proposals to have 7 leaders for two debates is the right way to go (page 22)

English Votes:  Euan McColm in Scotland on Sunday writes that Nicola Sturgeon has solved the problem of making the SNP relevant in Westminster by making the NHS her big issue and threatening that they will now vote on matters relating to the English NHS

Fracking:  Both Labour and the SNP in Westminster look set to back plans to suspend fracking and mining coalbed methane, putting pressure on Holyrood to follow suit, as it is revealed George Osborne has made dozens of interventions to fast-track the practice.   (Sunday Herald page 5, Herald page 6, Scotsman pages 1&4, Mail page 20, Guardianpage 4, National page 8)

Army Cuts:  The SNP have warned that plans to cut down the top ranks of the British Army could see savings spent on trident, and called for more investment in front line forces (Scotland on Sunday page 17)

Land Reform:  Scottish Land and Estates have expressed concerns over the Scottish Government’s land reform measures, claiming they undermine their human rights (Heraldpage 11,)

Economy
Scottish Business in the Community:  The charity Scottish Business in the Community is getting firms involved in schools and the community in an effort to support those with no academic aspirations and tackle Scotland’s employability agenda (Herald page 22)

Dairy:  The Scottish Environment Secretary will call for action at the European level to help dairy farmers hit by falling milk prices (Scotsman page 15)

Air Passenger Duty:
  English airports have expressed concerns that their prices will be undercut in light of Holyrood’s plan to reduce and eventually abolish APD (FT page 4)

Health
NHS:  The euro health consumer index has ranked England’s NHS two places above its Scottish counterpart (Sunday Times pages1&2, Express page 2)

Mental Health Research Funding:  Psychiatrists have called on health bosses to take urgent action to find new treatments for mental illnesses, after figures reveal research funding has fallen under the SNP (Herald pages 1&2)

Assisted Dying:  The medical director of the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland has warned that assisted suicide legislation could put an “unburdenable load” on youngsters and their parents (Times page 2)

Justice
Women’s Prison:  Labour are calling on the SNP Government to scrap the planned women’s super-prison in favour of small local offender units (Sunday Herald page 11, Herald page 6, Scotsman page 7)

Court Closures:  The Public and Commercial Services Union has organised a walk-out across Scotland’s busiest courts in protest at court closures across the country (Heraldpage 1)

Local Government
Glasgow Association for Mental Health:  A pressure group has been formed to fight proposed cuts to care services in Glasgow as Glasgow Association for Mental Health is facing closure in the face of a 40% cut (Herald page 5)

Transport
Railways:  Jim Murphy claims that Scotland’s railways would be re-nationalised under Labour (Scotland on Sunday page 6, Herald page 6, P&J page 13, Express page 6)