Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 20 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.
Nursery places: A report from the Family and Childcare Trust claims that fewer than one in six councils in Scotland have enough childcare capacity. Nicola Sturgeon was attacked on the government’s record at Holyrood yesterday but she stated the SNP’s increase of pre-school childcare to 600 hours had saved parents an average of £700 per year. Ruth Davidson criticised the SNP claiming that Scottish Conservatives would plan to “totally free up the way pre-school provision is offered” allowing parents to choose between state-run, private and voluntary nursery provision. (The Scotsman page 1,4, The Herald page 6, Scottish Daily Express page 2, The Times page 7, Scottish Daily Mail page 22,Press and Journal page 13, The Courier page 16)
Poll tax: MSPs voted overwhelmingly to ban councils from chasing up unpaid poll tax debt. (The Scotsman page 4, The Herald page 6,The Times page 7, Scottish Daily Mail page 10, Press and Journal page 17, The Courier page 17)
Scottish Conservatives: Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson will today present a party rooted in Scotland and addressing bread and butter issues facing the country. She will claim that Scots must vote Conservative if they want to avoid a Labour government and a potential SNP collation. (The Herald page 6, The Telegraph page 1) Scottish Liberal Democrats have claimed that the Conservatives in Scotland are retreating. (The National page 7)
Alison Rowat in The Herald claims that despite Ruth Davidson’s attempts to distance herself from the Conservatives in London, she has a “political mountain to climb” in convincing Scots voters.
Alan Cochrane in The Telegraph claims that Ruth Davidson’s confidence and a bounce from the No vote should give Scottish Conservatives reason to be hopeful.
Ben Borland in Scottish Daily Express believes that Ruth Davidson is the main reason for Conservative optimism in Scotland as she may be the key to convincing Scots with conservative values to vote Tory.
ID database: John Swinney has come under fire after ID card proposals and plans to extend the NHS database across public bodies prompted Opposition parties to voice concerns of “Big Brother” interference. (The Scotsman page 7, Scottish Daily Mail page 19)
Patrick Harvie in The National suggests that proposed Entitlement Cards are starting to look a lot like ID cards that were campaigned against for years. He states that new attempts must also be opposed.
Independence poll: A Survation poll for the Daily Record has revealed that 80% of Scots would support another independence referendum within the next ten years. However, the outcome would still favour a no vote. (Daily Record page 8)
Labour/SNP: Only 20% of Scots believe Ed Milliband is the best choice for PM as Labour support lags behind SNP. (Press and Journal page 12, The Courier page 16)
Social mobility: Kenny Farquharson in The Scotsman claims that Jim Murphy is right to tackle the issue of social mobility and that claims by a respected author of a “middle classification of Scotland” being “a bad thing” are unfounded.
Trident: Nicola Sturgeon clashed with Tory peer Lord Heseltine claiming that the UK government is obsessed with the Trident nuclear deterrent. (The Herald page 1)
Sectarianism: The Scottish Social Attitudes 2014 survey has revealed that the public believes rival football fans contribute most to a religious divide. However, offences aggravated by religion fell 17%, the lowest since 2009-10. (The Herald page 1,The National page 9)
Council budget cuts: Clashes occurred between Labour and SNP councillors over Glasgow City Council’s confirmed £29 million budget cuts. The SNP tried and failed to reverse decisions made by Labour controlled councils. (The National page 2)
Russia: Russia’s foreign minister yesterday warned that the Kremlin would “find a way to react” after comments made by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon over Russia’s danger to the Baltic states caused offence. There have been renewed calls to step up sanctions by the west against Russia if the situation in Ukraine deteriorates. RAF Typhoons were scrambled to escort Russian bombers away from Britain yesterday. Sir Michael Graydon, former head of the RAF claims that Britain is at Russia’s mercy after halving our defence budget after the cold war. The Lords Committee has accused the UK of “sleepwalking” into the crisis in Ukraine. (The Scotsman page 1, 19, The Herald page 2, Scottish Daily Express page 5,The Times page 1, The Telegraph page 8,The Sun page 8, Scottish Daily Mail page 4, The Guardian page 1,Press and Journal page 22, The Courier page 19)
Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman claims that the notion of a Europe at peace with itself have been ruined by the actions of Putin in Ukraine.
Simon Tisdall in The Guardian claims that Putin sees himself as a guardian of traditional patriotic values in Russia drawing on an imperialist legacy rather than a Soviet one.
Fracking: Dart Energy’s UK manager Douglas Bain claims that Scotland’s fracking ban has cost the country £40 million, stating that a planned investment for Airdrie would now go to England instead. (Daily Record page 31)
Football drinking: Doctors have expressed concerns over plans to overturn a ban on football fans drinking at matches claiming that today’s summit between supporters groups, clubs and football authorities (organised by Jim Murphy) should have included Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) as this is not “merely a matter of ‘consulting with the fans’”. (The Herald page 3)
University fees: Professor Craig Mahoney of the University of West of Scotland said that charging higher tuition fees brought in much-needed income for institutions but was rarely discussed because “opposing government policy isn’t always welcomed.” (The Heraldpage 1)
School week: A controversial move to save money by shortening the school week for primary age pupils has been given a 60% backing by “reluctant” head teachers in order to protect other areas of the education system. (The Herald page 7)
Teacher numbers: Glasgow stands to lose nearly £5 million next year if teacher numbers drop. Councillor Gordon Matheson accused ministers of failing to take deprivation into account when allocating resources between the country’s 32 authorities. (The Herald page 7)
Chief Constable: Sir Stephen House came under fierce criticism after Police Scotland admitted it had lost 20,000 stop and search records because someone “pressed the wrong button”. House denied that public confidence is “ebbing away” from Police Scotland. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 5, Scottish Daily Express page 9, The Times page 7, The Telegraph page 12, The National page 1, Daily Record page 4,The Sun page 9, Scottish Daily Mail page 6, The Courier page 13)
Menzies Campbell in The Courier expresses concern over Police Scotland’s over-use of stop and search.