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Reform Scotland Media Summary 23 March 2015

Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 23 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
Civil Service Impartiality:  A House of Commons Public Affairs Committee Report has questioned civil service impartiality during the referendum, criticising David Cameron’s administration for publishing a warning by the Treasury Permanent Secretary against sharing the pound with Scotland, as well as criticising the Scottish Government’s White Paper for not meeting factual standards.  The paper calls for the Civil Service Code to be revised specifically for referendums (Herald page 1 & Leader Comment, Scotsman pages 1&4, Mail page 4, Guardian page 16, P&J page 10, Courier page 13, Telegraph page 2, Times page 2, National page 2, Record page 2, Sun pages 10&11)

Alex Salmond writing in the P&J (page 22) and Courier (page 14) calls for Sir Nicholas Macpherson to resign.

SNP Labour Deal:  Speaking on the Andrew Marr show, Alex Salmond has said that a minority Labour government would be forced to make concessions to the SNP if the Nationalists hold the balance of power at Westminster.  The Conservatives have launched a video attack on the back of his comments; depicting Ed Miliband dancing as Mr Salmond plays the pipes (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 4, Mail pages 1&4, Guardian page 4, P&Jpage 10, Courier page 13, Telegraph pages 1&6, Times page 1&7, National page 2, Express page 4, Record pages 1&6)

In the Sun (page 11) Andrew Nicoll says that the Scottish public are not turned off by the ‘threats’ that the SNP will dance to their own tune in Westminster.

In Scotland on Sunday Nicola Sturgeon argues that the Scottish people don’t want a right of centre Labour government left to its own devices.

In the Telegraph Alan Cochrane suggests that Alex Salmond’s comments will lead to England voting Conservative.

In the Guardian Matthew d’Ancona discusses a potential confidence and supply arrangement between Labour and the SNP.

Andrew Wilson in Scotland on Sunday discusses the perception of Scots and the SNP in the British family of nations.

Smith Commission Legislation:  The House of Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee has warned that legislative plans for more powers for Scotland fall ‘far short of a credible draft bill’ and acknowledged that, despite attempts by the Bill to establish the permanence of the Scottish Parliament, it was difficult to do so (Sunday Herald page 11, Scotland on Sunday page 5, P&J page 11, Record page 2)

All-Women Shortlists:  Nicola Sturgeon’s proposal for a number of all-woman shortlists for the selection of candidates for next year’s Holyrood election will be debated at Conference next weekend with opposition from a group of SNP activists (Scotland on Sunday pages 1, 4&5, Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman, Mail page 5, Courier page 17, National page 3, Record page 2)

SNP Membership:  Membership of the Scottish National Party has officially surpassed 100,000 (Sunday Herald page 10, Scotsman page 5, P&J page 11, Courier page 15, Record page 16, Sun page 2)

Lib Dem Conference:  In a media briefing at the Lib Dem party conference Nick Clegg urged supporters of other Unionist parties to vote for the Lib Dems to keep the SNP out.  Willie Rennie pledges an extra £800m of NHS spending for Scotland (Sunday Herald page 13, Scotland on Sunday page 6)

Alternative Budget:  Euan McColm in Scotland on Sunday says that Danny Alexander cannot credibly distance himself from George Osborne’s budget.

Conservatives:  In an election essay in Scotland on Sunday, Iain McGill argues that working at the sharp end of health and social care gives the best picture of the benefits of Tory government.

Trident:  David Torrance in the Herald discusses the arguments for and against trident.

Energy Imbalance:  New National Grid figures have shown that Scotland is becoming increasingly reliant on importing energy from England, though the country still exports more than it imports (Herald page 2)

Government Borrowing:  In the Scotsman, Brian Monteith argues for a ‘Scots OBR’ to make the Scottish Government more accountable for the spending promises it makes.

Labour Donor:  Martin Taylor, a hedge fund boss who handed £600,000 to the Labour Party, stands to benefit from the privatisation of NHS services (Mail page 10)

Scottish Programmes:  Scottish ministers are planning to push for millions more to be spent on filming shows in Scotland for BBC channels (Express page 2)

Jockophobia:  In the Sunday Times (page 25) Gillian Bowditch suggests that ‘jockophobia’ is a political myth.

Jim Wallace: The former leader of the Scottish Lib Dems has defended the difficult decisions that have left his party fighting for survival at the General Election, but says it is too soon to write them off (Sunday Times page 13)

EVEL:  According to an Edinburgh University survey, most people south of the border support English votes for English laws.  The survey also found an appetite for greater devolution to English cities (Sunday Times page 8)

IndyRef:  Lord Wallace,advocate general for Scotland has signalled that a future government would again agree to a referendum being underpinned by statute to give it legitimacy (Sunday Times pages 1&2)

Economy

Budget:  In the Sunday Herald both Iain Macwhirter and Ian Bell discuss the last week’s budget.  Also Bill Jamieson in Scotland on Sunday.

E.ON:  Reports at the weekend suggest that German Energy giant E-ON may be the latest company to pull out of the North Sea (Scotsman page 33, P&J page 29)

Health
Contaminated Blood:  After years of waiting, the Penrose Report into Scotland’s contaminated blood scandal is due to be published on Wednesday with hundreds expected to lodge compensation claims (Sunday Herald pages 18&19, Herald page 12)

Video Link:  Four NHS health boards have taken part in a pilot project that saw GPs and doctors in rural community hospitals contacting an on-call paediatric consultant via video conferencing who than assessed a child in a bid to cut the rising number of over-anxious parents clogging A&E departments (Scotland on Sunday page 13, Herald page 11)

Maternal Deaths:  Top doctors are calling for better care of pregnant women and new mothers to reduce the number of maternal deaths following a meeting held by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (Herald pages 1&2)

Justice
Stop and Search:  Police Scotland have been accused of being ‘creative with civil liberties’ after a secret memo last year authorised officers to record telephone numbers in their national search database even when a frisk uncovered no criminality (Sunday Heraldpages 1, 4&5, Mail page 12)

Airgun Licensing:  Holyrood’s Local Government Committee has supported calls to introduce a licensing regime for air weapons (Herald page 6, Scotsman page 13, Courier page 15, Record page 2)

Education
Post Study Work Visa:  A coalition of business, education and student chiefs have called for the reintroduction of post study work visas in Scotland amidst fears Scottish firms are missing out on talented students who come to study here (Scotland on Sunday page 7, Scotsman page 5, Express page 2)

Local Government
City Deal:  Ahead of the Cabinet’s visit north, Nicola Sturgeon has urged the people of Inverness to voice their ideas for spending a £300 million city deal funding package (P&Jpage 9)

Transport
Regional Pricing Model:  The Scottish Government has said a decision by Heathrow Airport owners to introduce a new regional pricing model will lead to lower fares and incentives for airline companies to link up with Scotland (Scotsman pages 1&7)