Reform Scotland News: 29 April 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 ScotlandSTV news and Sky News.

Politics
Opinion polls: A TNS survey of 1200 people across all nations of the UK gave Nicola Sturgeon the highest net approval rating of all political leaders. A Survation poll suggests that 51% of Scots plan to vote SNP but also that 51% do not want another referendum. Polls also show increasing female support for the SNP with women preferring Nicola Sturgeon to Alex Salmond. (The Herald page 1, Daily Record page 10, The Sun page 8)

Joan McAlpine in the Daily Record suggests that Nicola Sturgeon’s support is growing thanks to her hard work and the fact that voters can relate to her.

Marina Hyde in The Guardian claims that it is the SNP and Nicola Sturgeon’s approach that has made sure they have capitalised on their swelling support.

Trident: The Tories and Labour have clashed over Trident with Defence Secretary Michael Fallon asking how Labour’s promise to maintain the nuclear deterrent could be achieved with the SNP holding the balance of power. (The Scotsman page 5, The Herald page 6, The Times page 1, The Guardian page 8, The Courier page 14)

Self-rule: David Cameron has predicted that the “false dream” of Scottish Independence will “fade with time” after Nicola Sturgeon wrote to the Prime Minister to claim that his free childcare proposal was a “con” (The Herald page 6, The National page 3, Scottish Daily Express page 7, The Courier page 18)

Jim Murphy in Glasgow: Jim Murphy has reportedly failed to impress voters in the working-class heartland of Glasgow-East. (Financial Times page 2) In an attempt to ensure that No voters give their support to Labour, Jim Murphy claimed that Scotland would be “turbo-charged” towards another referendum if the SNP dominate at the General Election. (The National page 2)

Twitter row: Nicola Sturgeon has claimed she would still vote for a disgraced SNP candidate who compared supporters of the Union to Nazi collaborators. (The Telegraph page 1, The Times page 10)

Swinney trade deal: John Swinney has warned that the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) must not come at the expense of government’s ability  to pass important laws. (The National page 4)

Labour/SNP deal: Any deal between the SNP and Labour is “inconceivable” according to Ed Balls. He claimed that nationalist MPs would only be there to disrupt parliament and push for a second independence referendum. (The Scotsman page 6)

SNP “progressive politics”: Nicola Sturgeon is reportedly appealing to Scots to help the SNP pursue progressive politics throughout the UK, regardless of whether they voted Yes or No last year. (The Scotsman page 7, The National page 2, Daily Record page 8, Scottish Daily Mail page 8, Press and Journal page 12)

SNP blackmail: Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, Nick Clegg’s wife, claimed that a Labour or Conservative government would risk being “constantly blackmailed” by the SNP or UKIP, she urged voters to back the Liberal Democrats to reduce the prospect of such a deal. (The Scotsman page 7)

Jenny Hjul in The Courier suggests that SNP MPs in Westminster will tamper with British institutions that Scots enjoy, including the BBC.

Labour in Scotland: Andrew Whitaker in The Scotsman states that Labour must focus its efforts in Scotland to challenge the SNP’s vow of a strong voice in Westminster.

Perception of Holyrood: Allan Massie in The Scotsman suggests that bills are proposed and passed in Scotland, such as the Named Persons proposal that would likely cause outrage, had they originated in Westminster. He suggests this equates to a support of policy because of its source of origin, rather than from objective analysis of the politics.
SNP racist: Nigel Farage has accused the SNP of racism, claiming that some of the “biggest racism” he has witnessed has been anti-English sentiment in Scotland, fuelled by SNP rhetoric. (The Herald page 7, The National page 5, Scottish Daily Express page 7, Daily Record page 11, Scottish Daily Mail page 9, Press and Journal page 12, The Courier page 14)

SNP campaigning: Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh in The National states that in the face of constant negativity from Westminster parties, the SNP’s approach of positive, progressive politics is refreshing and sensible.

SNP “mislead” over fracking: The SNP have been accused of misleading the public over its position on fracking by refusing to spell out how far-reaching a temporary ban on the process is. Labour Spokesman Lewis Macdonald claimed this is a cynical attempt to win votes in the General Election. (The Herald page 7, The National page 9)

SNP in Westminster: Westminster is the SNP’s “enemy” according to SNP candidate George Kerevan who claims that he will be heading to Westminster to fight in the “enemy camp”. (Scottish Daily Mail page 1)

Pat Kane in The National suggests that principled and well-executed politics from the SNP in Westminster will allow them to present a progressive, effective and left-leaning presence in parliament.

Daniel Finkelstein in The Times claims that the policies of the SNP have frequently been rejected and expresses his frustration at the prospect of the next UK government being propped up by a “left-wing separatist group”.

Economy
House prices: The average Scottish house price has risen by more than 13 per cent in the last three months to the highest level since records began. (The Scotsman page 14, The Herald page 5, The Times page 18, Scottish Daily Express page 4, Scottish Daily Mail page 27, Press and Journal page 2)

Health
Legal highs: A new batch of legal highs are responsible for an increasing number of deaths in Scotland. There were 108 deaths in which legal highs were present in the body in 2013. (The Scotsman page 1, The National page 13, Scottish Daily Mail page 23)

Cancer rates: New Scottish health statistics reveal that cases of cancer in Scotland have risen by 14 per cent in the last decade as the country’s ageing population increases. However, statistics show that survival rates are also increasing. (The Scotsman page 17, The Times page 13, Scottish Daily Express page 1)

Public Services
Fire service VAT: Scotland’s fire service is spending £10 million on its annual VAT bill, enough to hire an additional 350 fire fighters. The Scottish Fire Service says that it is currently the only fire service in the UK paying the bill, from which many public bodies receive an exemption. (The Scotsman page 10, Daily Record page 6, Scottish Daily Mail page 27, Press and Journal page 11)

Justice
A9 average speed cameras: The number of drivers caught by average speed cameras on the A9 has reportedly increased nearly five-fold in the last three months. (The Scotsman page 8)