Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 06 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.
Scottish Labour: Deciding which constituencies should utilise resources prior to the general election is causing disagreements within Scottish Labour after a poll by Lord Ashcroft found that 56 of the 59 Scottish seats could fall to the SNP. Some MPs are suggesting that the west of Scotland should be abandoned with one source claiming that “resources need to go elsewhere” – focussing on constituencies that voted strongly no. The SNP has criticised Labour for accepting “bad money” in the form of donations from Tony Blair who has donated £1000 to each of the party’s campaigns in its 106 battleground seats. John Major has strongly pushed for Labour to rule out a deal with SNP claiming it would be detrimental to the union. (The Scotsman page 4, The Herald page 6, The Daily Telegraph page 1, Financial Times page 2, The Sun page 8, Daily Record page 10, Scottish Daily Mail page 4, The Courier page 21)
Max Hasting in the Scottish Daily Mail warns of the “terrifying prospect” of SNP in Westminster.
Magnus Linklater in The Times notes that it is a Labour weakness rather than an SNP surge that will account for their gains as they (the SNP) are still polling 45%.
Alan Cochrane in the Daily Telegraph suggests that Scottish Labour needed to hit SNP hard in parliament yesterday. However, he claims that deputy leader Kezia Dugdale failed in this regard.
Torcuil Crichton in the Daily Record claims that Scottish Labour’s complacency in failing to heed warnings of their own decline is resulting in their loss of support.
Coalition: Ed Miliband is reportedly preparing to rule out a deal with the SNP in an attempt to reverse his party’s dire ratings north of the border. He is under heavy pressure from within his party and elsewhere to reject a coalition with the SNP. (The Times page 22)
Philip Collins in The Times suggests that Labour need to be clear about not doing a deal with the SNP and remind voters that SNP have been the party in power in Scotland since 2007 rather than the opposition.
John Major in The Daily Telegraph suggests that labour must rule out a potential coalition with the SNP as they would view any move to gain power in Westminster as a means to break up the UK. He questions whether Labour’s ambitions will override its focus on what is best for the UK.
Independence: Jim McColl, previously one of the highest-profile backers of Scottish independence has shifted his position stating that last year’s no vote has decided the issue. Mr McColl continues to back further devolution throughout the UK. (The Scotsmanpage 4, The Herald page 6, The Times page 23, Daily Telegraph page 11, Scottish Daily Express page 2, Daily Record page 2, The Courier page 15)
Nationalist image: Kenny Farquharson in The Scotsman suggests that the term “Nationalist” is a problem for some supporters of the SNP.
Trade unions: Trade unions are calling on all general election candidates to support their manifesto for decent work. This would see an end to zero hour contracts, a minimum wage increase and a commitment to restoring trade union freedom. (The Scotsman page 4, Press and Journal page 13)
MSP finances: MSPs who break Holyrood rules regarding the registration of their financial interests could face “exclusion from parliamentary proceedings” or have their salary withdrawn under new guidelines from the Scottish Parliament’s standards committee. There have also been calls from an international anti-corruption body to limit the value of gifts MSPs can receive before they must be declared. (The Scotsman page 5, The Heraldpage 1)
Crown Estate: Plans to hand over power of the Crown Estate to Holyrood in line with the Smith Commission are a “recipe for chaos” MSPs have been warned. (The Scotsmanpage 14, The National page 6, Press and Journal page 14)
Age discrimination: Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman claims it is “a dangerous game” to blame pensioners for generational income inequality, it should not be assumed that all are in a comfortable financial position.
Assisted suicide: Nicola Sturgeon has stated that she “hasn’t been convinced about assisted suicide” as the Assisted Suicide Bill is being considered at Holyrood. (The Heraldpage 5, The Sun page 2, Press and Journal page 20)
Women in the workplace: Nicola Sturgeon has come under fire over her party’s record of supporting women in the workplace. Scottish Labour deputy leader Kezia Dugdale said that more than 260,000 women were in jobs earning less than the living wage. (The Heraldpage 6, The Times page 2, The Sun page 2)
Glasgow Council: Glasgow City Council has revealed plans to leave local government body Cosla after disagreements about where the power lies in the organisation. They will help establish a rival local government organisation: the Scottish Local Government Partnership (SLGP). (The Herald page 8, The National page 14)
Austerity: Research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation has suggested that the Scottish Government should intervene as the poorest Scots feel “more confused and less secure” following rapid cuts to their incomes. (The Herald page 11)
Alex Salmond: Alison Rowat in The Herald claims that the publishing of Alex Salmond’s memoir is somewhat cynically timed to coincide with the general election.
TV Debates: David Cameron has been accused by Labour of “running scared” from the pre-election TV debates. However, he denies putting obstacles in their way. (The National page 3, Scottish Daily Express page 2, Daily Record page 2, The Guardian page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 2, Press and Journal page 18, The Courier page 15)
Civil Service: David Cameron has been accused of hypocrisy by the SNP after proposals for pre-election talks with Civil Service chiefs were rejected. (The Courier page 14)
Fuel duty discount: Drivers in remote regions of Scotland are to benefit from a 5p per litre fuel duty discount. The scheme will be extended to 17 remote areas in Scotland and England, the majority in Argyll and Bute and the Highlands. There has also been a continued pressure on political parties to commit to freezing fuel duty until 2020. (The Scotsman page 1, The Times page 12, Daily Record page 2, The Sun page 2, Scottish Daily Mail page 20)
Police Scotland: Armed police have controversially responded to more than 1,600 routine incidents since assurances were given that the practice would stop. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 1, The Times page 1, The Daily Telegraph page 1,The National page 9, Scottish Daily Express page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 1, Press and Journal page 14, The Courier page 13)
Binge drinkers: Nicola Sturgeon has agreed to discuss Scottish Conservative plans to set up “drunk tanks” to deal with binge drinkers and to reduce the strain on accident and emergency departments. (Scottish Daily Express page 2)
Ruth Davidson in The Courier suggests that political parties put aside arguments and use some common sense to help relieve A&E departments by backing this proposal.
University donations: There has been a rise in donations to Scottish universities from firms and graduates. New figures show the sector’s endowment income topped £46 million last year. (The Herald page 8)
Primary school funding: As part of the Scottish Government’s £1.8 billion Scotland’s Schools for the Future programme, £20 million has been allocated for the renovation and building of schools in Scotland. (The Herald page 9)