Reform Scotland News: 14 September 2015


Reform Scotland

Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 14 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


Jeremy Corbyn: Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour leader, has made his first key appointments: Andy Burnham has been confirmed as shadow home secretary, the leader’s campaign manager John McDonnell has been appointed shadow chancellor, Hilary Benn remains as shadow foreign secretary and Ian Murray, as the lone Labour MP in Scotland seems likely to remain as shadow Scottish Secretary. Deputy leader Tom Watson is being seen as a crucial linchpin in securing party unity after a number of prominent Labour figures have refused to serve under Jeremy Corbyn and others remain on the fence. However, there has been a significant boost to the Labour Party as the party has received 15,000 new members since Jeremy Corbyn’s victory. (The Sunday Times page 1, 4-7, The Herald page 1, Daily Telegraph page 1, The Sun page 6, Financial Times page 2, Scottish Daily Express page 4, The Times age 6-9,11, Scottish Daily Mail page 1, The Guardian page 1,6-9, Press and Journal page 14, The Courier page 15)


Conservative MP Colonel Bob Stewart has expressed anger at Jeremy Corbyn’s “support” for those “instrumental” in the deaths of British soldiers. (The Sun page 6)


Labour’s largest private donor, John Mills, has declared Jeremy Corbyn’s economic policy to be “unworkable” and stands ready to finance Labour for the Common Good, the centrist group set up by Chuka Umunna and Tristram Hunt. (The Sun page 6, Daily Telegraph page 4)


Jeremy Corbyn faces pressure from Dr Kate Hudson, general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, to change Labour’s policy on the renewal of Trident after deputy leader Tom Watson backed renewal. (The National page 4)


Justice Secretary Michael Gove states that Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership represents a danger to national and economic security. (Scottish Daily Express page 4)


Dan Hodges in The Daily Telegraph asks how long Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition within the Labour party can wait before challenging his position as leader and what that disunity will do to the party.


Lesley Riddoch in The Scotsman suggests that Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the face of media hostility could provoke sympathy with Yes voters in Scotland making Labour a party for positive protest votes in Scotland.


James Kelly in The National states that Jeremy Corbyn’s victory will add a dose of unpredictability into the Holyrood elections, forcing Nicola Sturgeon to re-address a winning formula.


Zoe Williams in The Guardian claims that Jeremy Corbyn represents real political opposition and that he has changed the rules of British politics whether or not he can win power.


Alex Massie in the Scottish Daily Mail (page 16) suggests that Kezia Dugdale has reason to despair at Jeremy Corbyn’s victory as she will be forced to comment on the extent of her agreement with the new leader. Nicola Sturgeon, he claims, can capitalise on this.


Second referendum: The SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie has warned that a second independence referendum could be triggered if new powers coming to Scotland do not meet public demands. However, David Mundell, Scotland’s only Conservative MP, has rejected claims that an exit from Europe would necessarily break up the UK, claiming that another referendum would have to wait at least fifteen years, if not considerably longer, and that Scotland has “reaped the rewards of rejecting independence”.  (The Scotsman page 1, The Herald page 6, Scottish Daily Express page 2, Daily Telegraph page 1, Financial Times page 3, The Times page 17, Scottish Daily Mail page 4, Press and Journal page 12, The Courier page 1)


A Panelbase survey has revealed that two-thirds of Scots believe that Scotland will split from the rest of the UK by 2045. (The Sunday Times page 1, The Sun page 2, The National page 2)


The Prime Minister has claimed that people in Scotland have put the idea of independence behind them as he dismissed the idea of another referendum, stating that he saw “no need” for one. (The Herald page 6)


Gillian Bowditch in The Sunday Times (page 24) highlights that Scotland is still split down the middle regarding independence. Alistair Darling has suggested that the SNP are currently riding the wave of political change sweeping Europe, but that their economic case is worse now than it was in 2014.


Kevin Pringle in The Sunday Times (page 25) claims that the referendum was the best platform Scotland could have had for self-promotion but states that a second independence referendum must move forward embracing Scotland’s challenges as a reason for change, not reasons against change.


David Torrance in The Herald suggests that by re-igniting discussion about another referendum, Nicola Sturgeon has effectively “fired the starting gun on another five or six year campaign for independence”.


Alan Cochrane in The Daily Telegraph (page 11) notes that Scotland is a confused place: “voters don’t know what they want, whilst politicians cannot make up their minds what to do.”


Kenny Farquharson in The Times (page 16) notes that the referendum campaign gave Scots a taste for considering their future but continues to divide the nation.


Extra powers: Professor John Curtice has suggested that holding another devolution referendum to secure decisive support for the Scotland Bill may end the ongoing manoeuvres towards independence as Scots currently “lack enthusiasm” for the Smith Commission proposals. (The Herald page 6, Daily Record page 7, The National page 2)


Labour in Scotland: The Labour leader in Scotland, Kezia Dugdale, has warned Jeremy Corbyn that she is in charge of Labour policy north of the border ahead of his visit to Scotland this week. Jeremy Corbyn announced Labour would be campaigning in every part of Scotland and that he would “sidestep any nationalist trap” that would tie him to working with the SNP. However, the party has been shown to be ineffective at holding the SNP government to account with only 16 per cent of respondents to a YouGov poll expressing confidence in the party’s ability as an opposition north of the border. (The Scotsman page 1, Daily Record page 6, The Times page 1, 10)


SNP/Labour alliance: SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie has said that Jeremy Corbyn’s dramatic victory in the Labour leadership election could pave the way to a “progressive alliance” with the SNP at Westminster, potentially beginning with the two parties opposing the Trade Union Bill. (The Scotsman page 10, The Herald page 7, The Sun page 7)


Prejudice in Scotland: A study from the University of Strathclyde and Survation has found that a third of black and Asian Scots have experienced discrimination in the last five years. Prejudice was reported in many aspects of daily life including housing, employment, education and the use of public transport. (The Scotsman page 13)


Scottish Conservatives: Brian Monteith in The Scotsman claims that the imminent replacement of seven of the fifteen Conservative MSPs could represent an opportunity to re-energise the party and “take advantage of Labour’s disarray” to become the main opposition party north of the border.


Alex Salmond: The former SNP leader has claimed that he felt he could not take the position of leader of the SNP’s group in Westminster as doing so would position him as a rival to Nicola Sturgeon. He says that the Yes campaign was the real winner of the referendum and insists that supporters will “have the last laugh”. (The Sun page 12)



Oil price: Industry insiders are predicting that the cost of oil could plummet to just $20 a barrel (around £13), the lowest price since 2002. This would bring the price of a litre of unleaded petrol below £1 a litre. This could be catastrophic for the North Sea oil industry which has already shed 65,000 jobs. (The Scotsman page 20)


Energy policy options: Energy expert Stuart Paton has set out his views on the future of Scottish energy production in The Sunday Times. This is an extract from a forthcoming piece to be published by Reform Scotland. (Sunday Times page 16 & 37)



Scottish universities: Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, the head of Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, has claimed that Scottish universities are inherently conservative institutions that have changed little in 700 years.  He suggests that this is the drive behind opposition to the Higher Education Bill from academics across Scotland. (The Herald page 1)



Borders railway: Despite promises from Scotrail to meet demand on the new Borders railway line, the service has been hit by delays and overcrowding, dissuading people from using the trains. (The Scotsman page 9)

Local Government

Trade union defiance: The leader of Scotland’s largest council, Frank McAveety, has declared that he will act in defiance of the Trade Union Bill by allowing “facility time” for union business. (Daily Record page 3)


Deep-fried Mars bars: Scotland’s food and nutrition tsar, Geoff Ogle has expressed his increasing dismay at the continued popularity of the deep-fried Mars bar and wants it taken off the menu in a bid to tackle the country’s health and obesity problems. However, Lorraine Watson, owner of the fish and chip shop where the idea originated, claims this is an overreaction with 95 per cent of the sweets being bought by tourists. (The Times page 4)