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Reform Scotland Media Summary 16 March 2015

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 16 March 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
Independence:  A new survey of 7,000 people across the UK on behalf of Edinburgh University has found that the majority believe Scotland will become independent – with 69% of Scots believing this to be the case and 59% of those from the rest of the UK (Herald page 1, Scotsman pages 1&6, Mail page 2, P&J page 12, Times page 11, Nationalpage 2, Express pages 1&4, Record page 11)

Labour-SNP Coalition:  In the Sunday Herald Iain Macwhirter believes Ed Miliband will eventually rule out an SNP coalition but it will not be enough to end the speculation.  In an interview on the Andrew Marr show, Ed Balls refused to rule out a coalition with the SNP.  Meanwhile, private polling has suggested that traditional Labour voters who voted for independence could avert electoral disaster for Labour in Scotland (Scotsman page 7, Mail page 2, Guardian page 14, P&J page 13, Express page 2, Sun page 2, Sunday Times page 6)

Writing in the Daily Record, Douglas Alexander says that Labour do not want a coalition with the SNP.

In the Sunday Times, Jim Murphy says only Labour can offer an alternative to austerity max, saying home rule would lead to budget cuts (page 19)

Liam Fox has warned that such a coalition could lead to a threat to jobs at Faslane (Sunday Times page 6)

Labour Manifesto:  Labour’s election pledge card was unveiled in Birmingham, with promises that the party would stand up to ‘the powerful.’  The pledge card sets out five promises about the economy, living standards, the NHS, controlled immigration and opportunities for the next generation (Scotland on Sunday page 4, Sunday Herald page 9)

SNP: In a speech in London today, Nicola Sturgeon will pledge a constructive role for the SNP across the whole of the UK and an end to austerity politics.  Meanwhile, Alex Salmond has said that the SNP will ‘shake Westminster to its foundations’  (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 7, P&J page 12, Times page 2, FT page 2, National page 4)

In an election essay for Scotland on Sunday, Tommy Sheppard outlines why socialists must vote for the SNP in the General Election.  Euan McColm in the same paper suggests the rhetoric of contempt for Alex Salmond may backfire if the Tories win the election.

Home Rule:  In Scotland on Sunday Andrew Wilson questions Labour’s logic of opposing home rule.

Tactical Voting:  Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph discusses why some Tories will vote Labour to keep the SNP out.

David Coburn: UKIP MSP David Coburn is being urged to resign following allegations he compared SNP minister Humza Yousaf to convicted terrorist Abu Hamza, with Nigel Farage refusing to condemn the remarks.  The minister also called on David Cameron to rule out a deal with UKIP (Scotland on Sunday page 4, Sunday Herald pages 2&3, Herald page 7, Mail pages 1&5, P&J page 14,Courier page 13, Times page 4, Record page 11, Sunday Times page 1)

Lib Dems:  In a key-note speech at the Lib Dem conference, Nick Clegg ruled out a coalition with the SNP (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 8, Guardian page 2)

Danny Alexander:  The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has admitted he is fighting for his political life and hopes those who voted for the union will support him in his Inverness seat to keep out the SNP (Scotland on Sunday pages 1&5, Express page 2, Telegraph page 9)

Smith Commission:  Danny Alexander has warned that the SNP will ‘renege’ on Smith Commission proposals to hand back power to communities (Scotsman page 8)

Fiscal Autonomy:  Gillian Bowditch in the Sunday Times says that devo-max has the potential to impoverish Scots families (page 27)

Nationalism:  A senior Lib Dem has sparked anger as he reportedly compared the SNP to UKIP, Le Pen and the Tea Party (Sunday Herald pages 4&5)

Political Awareness:  In the Scotsman, Lesley Riddoch suggests that the political engagement caused by the referendum in Scotland will spill over into the General Election.

TV Debates:  Leaders of Scotland’s four main partied have signed a petition calling for the Greens to be included in next month’s STV election debate (Sunday Herald pages 4&5)

Welfare Reforms:  In the Herald, Stephen Naysmith suggests that sanctions will play an important role in the General Election.

Popularity politics:  David Torrance in the Herald discusses the politics of popularity.

Longannet:  John Swinney has pledged that the Scottish Government will do all it can to avoid the closure of Longannet (Herald page 3, Courier page 13, Record page 10)

Low wage pledge:  Speaking ahead of a Labour summit on the living wage this week, Jim Murphy has pledged to end low pay in Scotland, announcing a commission on the issue (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 7, Record page 10, Sun page 2)

Referendum Diary:  According to extracts from his referendum diary, Alex Salmond reveals that he had concerns over how Gordon Brown handled the Grangemouth crisis in 2008, and he also linked oil giant BP’s anti-independence stance to a ‘you scratch my back’ deal with the UK government (Sun pages 6&7).  In the same paper, Andrew Nicoll talks about the former First Minister’s blasting of David Cameron as a ‘silly arrogant man’ as he watched him address the nation after the no vote (page 6).

BBC Bias:  Mr Salmond has also used his new book to claim that the BBC were guilty of bias during the referendum (Scotsman page 6, Telegraph page 8)

Economy
Budget:  The Chancellor is expected to announce annuity reforms, giving pensioners the same opportunity to access their retirement funds as those announced last year for those who had not already taken their pensions.  There is also speculation of help for North Sea firms and a rise in the personal income tax allowance (Herald page 2, Scotsman pages 1&8, P&J page 29, Courier page 13, Express page 2, Sun page 2)

In the National, George Kerevan suggests that the Chancellor’s budget will be about buying votes rather than economics

North Sea Oil:  Writing in the P&J (page 22) and the Courier(page 13), Alex Salmond calls on George Osborne to change the UK Government’s strategy in the North Sea.

Health
Gagging Clauses:  More than 40 staff leaving jobs in NHS Scotland have been subject to gagging clauses in spite of a crackdown on the issue by ministers (Herald pages 1&4)

Heart Scans:  A University of Edinburgh study has suggested that routine heart scans of patients presenting with symptoms of angina could reduce the rate of heart attacks (Herald page 12, Scotsman page 14)

Education
Empowering Schools:  Hugh Aitken of CBI Scotland writing in the Sunday Times says that more say for head teachers and stronger links to business will give pupils a better start (page 29)

Transport
Transport Policing:  The RMT union has warned against putting Police Scotland in charge of rail policing (Herald page 3, Scotsman page 5, Times page 7)