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Reform Scotland Media Summary 2 February 2015

Reform Scotland
Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 2 February 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
The ‘Vow Plus”:  Jim Murphy has outlined plans along with Gordon Brown to hand Holyrood greater power over welfare than was agreed by the Smith Commission in what is termed “the vow plus”, if Labour wins the General election.  This promise comes after a long line of announcements by the Labour leader including his latest pledge to take on the SNP over health and education. (Herald page 1, Scotsman pages 1&4, Scotland on Sunday page 4, Mail page 4, P&J page 13, Courier page 15, Sun page 2, Gordon Brownin the Daily Record, National page 5, Telegraph page 1)

Labour-SNP Coalition: In an appearance on the Andrew Marr Show, Douglas Alexander has said that Labour will not negotiate over Britain’s nuclear deterrent, but did not rule out a power sharing agreement with the SNP.  Meanwhile former SNP deputy leaders Jim Sillars and Jim Fairlie have warned that a coalition with Labour would tear the SNP apart, while Alex Salmond says such a formal coalition would be unlikely (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 5, Times page 2, P&J page 12, Courier page 15, Daily Record page 2, Express page 2, National page 4, Sunday Times page 7)

Labour-Tory Coalition:  In the Sunday Herald, Iain Macwhirter argues that a coalition between Labour and the Conservatives is not impossible, but would be disastrous for both parties.

Jim Murphy:  Andrew Wilson in Scotland on Sunday comments on Jim Murphy and Scottish Labour.

Westminster:  Andrew Nicoll in the Sun says that Westminster is struggling to make itself relevant to Scottish voters (Sun page 8)

SNP:  Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman considers whether complacency could cause problems for the SNP in the run up to the General Election

‘Fantasy Politics’:  In the Herald, David Torrance accuses the left of ‘fantasy politics’ in its failure to acknowledge the facts

Red Lines:  Common Weal have outlined five “red lines”, based on the common ground between the SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru, which could form the basis of a coalition with Labour (Sunday Herald pages 13&14)

Gordon Brown:  The SNP have claimed Jim Murphy is being side-lined as Labour plan to use Gordon Brown as their “secret weapon” during the general election campaign (Sunday Herald page 16)

Unconventional Gas Extraction:  The row over UGE continues as environmental campaigners put pressure on Ministers to close the ‘loophole’ that will allow coal gas projects under the seabed.  Meanwhile, Dr Harry Bradbury, chief executive of Five Quarter, has criticised the Scottish Government for announcing a moratorium on UGE last week with others questioning the decision and  speaking out in support of the industry (Sunday Herald pages 6&7, Struan Stevenson in Scotland on Sunday, Gillian Bowditch in the Sunday Times, Bob Ruddiman in the Scotsman, Times page 1, Mail page 8, Courier page 15, Telegraph page 4)

Abortion:  Pro-life campaigners are calling on Scottish Ministers to take a harder stance on termination laws as talks begin on the devolution of abortion and the Catholic church expresses concern over Jim Murphy’s stance (Scotland on Sunday pages 1, 4&5, Sunday Times page 15, Times page 6, Express page 2)

Scottish Budget:  Ahead of Wednesday’s budget debate, John Swinney vows to protect the NHS and education from Westminster austerity policies (Sunday Herald page 17)

Search and Rescue Centre Move:  Prime Minister David Cameron has reaffirmed the UK’s only search and rescue co-ordination centre is to move from Moray to the south of England (Herald page 2, Scotsman page 10, P&J page 6)

Stamp Duty:  Chris Deerin in the Mail suggests that following his u-turn on a new Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, John Swinney’s stamp duty proposals set out in the budget will align with George Osborne’s (page 14)

V&A:  During a private meeting of Holyrood’s culture committee, SNP MSPs voted against plans to scrutinise the spiralling costs of the project (Courier page 2)

Votes at 16:  Labour’s Margaret Curran has called for 16 & 17 year olds to be able to vote in General Elections as well as Scottish and local elections (Daily Record page 2)

TV Debate:  The SNP are calling for one of the televised leader debates to be held in Scotland (Daily Record page 2)

Economy
Oil Summit:  First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has called on the Treasury to ease the tax burden on oil producers ahead of a summit between the industry and the UK and Scottish Governments today.  Trade Unions make the same call warning of health and safety fears, with Aberdeen City Council Leader Jenny Laing calling for a £2bn investment to protect the region’s energy sector (Sunday Herald page 17, Scotland on Sunday page 6, Sunday Times page 11, Herald page 6, Scotsman pages 1&6, P&J pages 1,10&11, Courier page 18, National page 2)

Whisky:  Research by the Herald has revealed that only 29 of Scotland’s whisky distilleries are controlled by Scottish firms (Herald pages 1&10)

Jobs:  Research by the CBI and Accenture has found that more than half of businesses in Scotland expect to increase their workforce this year (Herald page 24)

Health
NHS:  Alex Salmond in the P&J says that he is not surprised by public satisfaction with the Scottish NHS as the National Centre for Social Research publishes its yearly findings.  Labour highlights the NHS as one of the SNP’s biggest weaknesses, as public frustration about the service is growing, including access GPs as revealed in research published by Reform Scotland last year. Alison Payne, Research Director at Reform Scotland, says that patients could benefit if local authorities took over from NHS Boards. (Scotland on Sundaypages 10&11, Courier page 14, Sunday Times page 25)

Dementia Care:  Professor June Andrews, Director of Dementia Services Development Centre at Stirling University has warned that failings in care make hospitals a dangerous place for dementia sufferers (Herald pages 1, 3&4)

Emergency Targets:  According to Scottish Ambulance Service figures, paramedics are routinely failing to reach patients within the 8 minute target time (Daily Record page 10)

Justice
Stop and Search: Professor Alan Miller, Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, has claimed that random stop and searches could lead to human rights violations under European laws (Sunday Herald page 4, Herald page 9)

Parole:  According to Parole Board Scotland’s annual report, murderers and rapists are being freed from life sentences at a rate of more than one a week (Mail page 2)

Education
Educational Psychologists:  The Scottish Children’s Services Coalition is warning that a shortage of special psychologists in schools is threatening the education of pupils with autism and other conditions (Herald page 13)

Graduates:  VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead has criticised plans by the Home Secretary to deport foreign students as soon as they have graduated (Scotsmanpage 10)

Transport
Ferries:  SNP Ministers have been accused of wasting tens of millions of pounds on hybrid ferries when they could have bought ordinary diesel-driven boats for one third of the price (Times page 6)