Reform Scotland: 11 September 2015


Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 11 September 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


Referendum: Blair Jenkins, former leader of the Yes Scotland campaign, predicts there will be a second referendum in 2021, shortly after the next-but-one Holyrood election. He claimed it was “highly likely” that another referendum would be held and that people in Scotland would vote to leave the UK. He suggested that Nicola Sturgeon would re-asses the viability of a currency union with the rest of the UK before a second vote was held. (The Herald page 1)

Kenny Farquharson in The Times page 29 suggests that it was Alex Salmond’s change of tone in the final days of 2014’s referendum that lost the referendum for the Yes side. By fighting Nick Robinson, the financial institutions and Sir Nicolas Macpherson he “punctured the positivity”. 


Labour leadership election:  Labour was facing calls last night after “hundreds” of supporters did not receive voting papers: concerns were raised that one in five supporters in London did not receive papers. Polls suggest that left-wing candidate Jeremy Corbyn is likely to take control, he insists he will remain “a normal human being” if elected and would bring a coherent leadership to the party. Asked if he was worried about a division in Labour, Mr Corbyn replied “I’m not worried at all, I’m looking forward to it because I believe we have a big job to do”. (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 6, The Telegraph page 1, The Times page 11, Courier and Advertiser page 14)

David Cameron will today state that Jeremy Corbyn poses a direct threat to British security after the Labour leadership favourite questioned the drone strike that killed two British jihadists. The Prime Minister claimed that Labour’s rhetoric of increased borrowing would put the public’s economic security at extreme risk. (The Times page 1, Scottish Daily Mail page 8)

Alison Rowat in The Herald notes that a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party would represent genuine opposition within British Politics and that can only be a good thing.

Philip Stephens in the Financial Times claims that those alarmed by Jeremy Corbyn’s likely victory in the Labour leadership elections should blame the bankers for his success since they do seem to have paid the price for the financial crisis.

Fraser Nelson in The Telegraph claims that a Jeremy Corbyn victory would hand the Tories a “glorious opportunity to remodel Conservatism”. David Cameron needs to ask “what would a sensible, effective Labour leader be saying? He then needs to say those things himself.”


Cash for access: A Labour fixer promised to arrange a meeting with “next Prime Minister” Andy Burnham after accepting a £5,000 donation. The meeting was held in a London casino where the £5,000 cash was immediately exchanged for casino gambling chips. Andy Burnham then posed for pictures with The Sun’s journalist and expressed private concerns about Jeremy Corbyn, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper as well as Ed Milliband’s General Election campaign. (The Sun page 10)


Ian Murray: Labour’s only Scottish MP has expressed his willingness to take up the position of Shadow Scottish Secretary within a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour party. The need for a “Scottish voice in the shadow cabinet” would prompt Mr Murray to work with Jeremy Corbyn, despite supporting Yvette Cooper’s bid for the party leadership. (The Scotsman page 4, The National page 4)


Ed Milliband: A Lord Ashcroft poll has confirmed what many in the Labour Party suspected – that voters were put off because they thought Ed Milliband would not make a good Prime Minister. (The National page 5)


New Powers:  New post-referendum powers coming to Holyrood are likely to face a legal challenge, MSPs have been told. There are concerns that the spending powers outlined in the Smith Commission agreement could be a “poisoned chalice” leaving Scotland with a significant spending gap in the future. (The Scotsman page 12)


Prison Families: Nicola Sturgeon has come under increased pressure not to overturn a decision, made in the Scottish parliament, to assist children with jailed parents. Labour, backed by a number of children’s charities, demanded that the First Minister back a bill to ensure the number of children with jailed parents are properly tallied and to produce an “action plan” as figures reveal a 10 per cent rise in vulnerable children living in temporary homes.  (The Scotsman page 12, Scottish Daily Express page 2)


Nicola Sturgeon: The First Minister was awarded Politician of the Year at the inaugural Scottish LGBTI awards. (The Scotsman page 5)


Joyce McMillan in The Scotsman notes that Nicola Sturgeon’s “balancing act” of meeting and socialising with the Queen and presenting that event on social media was well handled.


Expenses: The Independent Parliamentary Standards Agency has published a list of 26 MPs who failed to settle debts for wrongly claimed items. A number of MPs, including Gordon Brown were among those who made claims for very small amounts – Mr Brown claimed 8p for stationery and former Labour Stirling MP Anne McGuire made a claim for 2p. (The Scotsman page 6, Daily Express page 2, The Sun page 2, The Times page 11, The Guardian page 20, Press and Journal page 12, Courier and Advertiser page 13)


Refugee Crisis:  Campaigners have welcomed a move to house 100 Syrian refugees in Edinburgh over the next year, but are calling on city leaders to take in more. No detail has been released about how refugees will be distributed across the city. (The Scotsman page 8)


Scots language: A drive to promote the Scots language has been launched by the Scottish Government. Moves will include an adoption of a tri-lingual system by the quango Education Scotland, printing signage in English, Gaelic and Scots. (The Scotsman page 21, Scottish Daily Mail page 14)



Welfare changes: The Institute for Fiscal Studies has claimed that George Osborne’s changes to taxes and benefits will leave millions worse off, despite the introduction of the Living Wage. (The National page 4, The Times page 11)


GM crops ban not scientific: Nicola Sturgeon last night reportedly said that the Scottish ban on genetically modified crops was not “based on scientific considerations”. Opposition MPs have demanded to know whether Scotland’s current ban on GM crops came with the approval of Professor Louise Heathwaite, the chief scientific advisor for rural affairs. (Daily Express page 4, The Times page 1)



Poverty: Scotland’s largest teaching union, the EIS, has issued a poverty advice book to teachers in order to deal with increasing evidence of poverty in classrooms. Advice includes referring hungry pupils to foodbanks and taking a more relaxed approach to pupils without uniforms. (The Scotsman page 1)


Further education: Colleges in Scotland have called for continued funding after research from the Economic Modelling Specialists International shows that for every £1 invested in further education, £6 is returned to benefit learners and taxpayers. (The Scotsman page 6)


College payouts: Scottish Ministers have expressed outrage at the £850,000 of public money used by college principals and senior managers at Coatbridge College to “feather their own nests” through allegedly un-entitled severance pay. (The Telegraph page 1)


Private school fees: Private school fees in Scotland have risen by approximately 20 per cent in the past five years according to analysis by Lloyds Bank.  The typical annual fee in Scotland is now £10, 773, up 19 per cent from £9,048 in 2010. (The Scotsman page 15)


Higher Education Bill:  Academics at the universities of St Andrews, Glasgow, Strathclyde and Edinburgh have warned that aspects of the Higher Education Bill could lead to lack of funding. The bill would bring about an end to the right of students and staff at Scotland’s four oldest universities to elect a Rector, an important role within the university system. (The Herald page 2)


League tables: Nicola Sturgeon has promised to introduce a standardised test for every primary pupil so that educational inequality can be assessed, but said there would be no return to crude league tables. (The Herald page 6, The Sun page 2, Courier and Advertiser page 17)



A9 upgrade: Construction work has begun, after an eight year delay, to complete the dual carriageway on the A9 between Perth and Inverness. The £3 billion project, one of the largest in Scottish history, is likely to bring a decade of roadworks and related delays. (The Scotsman page 13, The Herald page 9, The Sun page 2, Press and Journal page 8)



Social media:  Teenagers who stay up late at night using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression according to researchers at the University of Glasgow. (The Herald page 3,The Scotsman page 17)


Abortion laws:  Nicola Sturgeon has written to groups including Scottish Women’s Aid to stress that devolved abortion laws would not change in Scotland. (Scottish Daily Express page 2, The Sun page 2, The Times page 11)