Reform Scotland News: 23 September 2015


Reform Scotland
Daily Political Newspaper Summary: 23 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

Scottish MSPs:  Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie has stated that MSPs and MPs in his party would be free to campaign for Scottish independence in a future referendum. His announcement came after Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale stated that representatives of her party would also be able to choose their position which would be “irrelevant” to the party’s drive for a fairer and more equal society. (The Scotsman page 8, The Times page 11, The National page 2, Daily Record page 2, The Sun page 4, Press and Journal page 15)
Alan Cochrane in The Telegraph (page 7) suggests that Scottish Labour is ignoring reality and “sailing serenely on as if it hadn’t been slaughtered at the General Election”, claiming that Kezia Dugdale care more about the future of Scottish Labour than she does about Scotland.  
Jenny Hjul in The Courier  asks why Nationalists would return to a “stricken Labour” when they have all the power they want with the SNP.
Charles Kennedy: Liberal Democrat members paid an emotional tribute to former leader Charles Kennedy with a minute of applause following the screening of a film about his life. Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat activists were criticised yesterday for preparing to sing songs mocking the Highlands MP’s heavy drinking: Peter Rice, chairman of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems called the songs “not helpful”. (The Scotsman page 8, The Times page 11, Daily Record page 2, The Courier page 14, Press and Journal page 14)
David Cameron biography: There is continuing coverage about allegations made by Lord Ashcroft in his unauthorised biography of David Cameron. David Cameron has hit back at Lord Ashcroft by jokingly referring to the story at a fundraising dinner. (The National page 4, The Herald page 1,Daily Record page 6)
Human Rights Act: Nicola Sturgeon has slammed the Conservative Party’s plans to scrap the Human Rights Act, claiming that it will “diminish the UK’s reputation” (The Scotsman page 12, The Herald page 3, The Times page 11, The National page 2, The Sun page 2, Press and Journal page 15)

Refugees in Scotland:
Preparations are “well under way” to settle some of the 20,000 Syrian refugees taken to the UK in Scotland. They will be granted a humanitarian status allowing them to apply for asylum after five years. (The Herald page 1)

Charity restrictions:  Charities in Scotland are facing a possible shake up following research by the Scottish Charity and Voluntary Organisation (SCVO) that found unhappiness in the methods used to raise funds. (The Herald page 10, Scottish Daily Mail page 2)
Jeremy Corbyn: The new Labour leader may face an earlier than expected showdown over Trident, Syria and Welfare as New Labour members confront his shadow cabinet. Delegates at next week’s conference will, for the first time, be given the option to vote on the renewal of Britain’s nuclear deterrent. Meanwhile, Gary Smith, the GMB’s acting secretary in Scotland has warned Jeremy Corbyn to “get real” over Trident. (The Times 15, Scottish Daily Express page 2, The Sun page 4, The Guardian page 4, The Courier page 13)
Mary Riddell in The Telegraph wonders whether Jeremy Corbyn will be able to use the Labour Party conference to launch his socialist vision successfully, as Tony Blair did twenty years ago.
Land reform: Uncertainty over government plans has caused Scotland’s sporting estates to view government agencies and emergent plans as a threat to investment in grouse shooting in the long term. (The Herald page 5, The Times page 13, The Telegraph page 3, The Courier page 11)
Unison protest:  Unison’s Scottish organiser, Dave Watson, has called for the country to be made exempt from a new tax being introduced by George Osborne that could see the country lose almost £400 million every year to fund apprenticeships in other parts of the UK. (The National page 2)
Fishing industry:  Duncan MacInnes of the Western Isles Fisherman’s Association will travel to Edinburgh today to tell MSPs that the decision to introduce protected areas at sea will cost over 100 jobs in an industry the SNP pledged to protect. (The Times page 2)
North Sea cuts: Professor Alex Kemp will warn in a published paper that North Sea oil explorers will find it almost impossible to make any money without severe cost cuts. (Financial Times page 4)
Local government
Tax freeze:  The Scottish Parliamentary Research Centre has found that the SNP government’s council tax freeze policy is not underfunded with local government’s share of public spending falling only slightly. (The Scotsman page 12, The Herald page 6, The Times page 11, Scottish Daily Express page 4, Daily Record page 2, The Sun page 2)
Education gap: Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have attacked the SNP over “empty self-praise” of the party’s education record claiming that the government had failed to do enough to tackle the educational attainment gap. (The Scotsman page 6)

Scots language:  Academics at Glasgow University cataloguing Scots words have found the language has 421 words for snow. (The Scotsman page 1, Press and Journal page 15) 

“Impossible” Higher: The head of Scotland’s national exams body has defended this year’s Higher maths paper claiming it “did its job” despite leaving pupils in tears because of its difficulty. (The Scotsman page 6, The Herald page 5, The Times page 11, The Sun page 2, The Courier page 13, Press and Journal page 15) 

Sensory impaired pupils:  An inquiry by the education committee has expressed concern that more needs to be done to assist school pupils with hearing or visual impairments. (The Scotsman page 11, The Herald page 4)
“Weak” primary school:  A primary school in Bearsden, Glasgow has been graded “weak” on both its curriculum and self improvement by the quango Education Scotland. Inspectors called for the school to make “urgent improvements”. (The Herald page 12)
University exploiting students:  Edinburgh University has been accused of exploiting its student after it was revealed that certain courses provided only four hours of teaching time per week. (The Times page 9)
Child health: Doctors have expressed concern at the poor dietary habits of children in Scotland. On average the country’s two to fifteen year olds are consuming 2.8 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, a long way short of the recommended five portions. (The Scotsman page 1)
A&E waiting times:  Three health boards across Scotland have failed to hit a key A&E waiting target despite overall improvements to hospital emergency service nationally. (The Herald page 9, The Sun page 2)
Drinking problems:  A survey for the Scottish government, carried out by ScotCen noted that the wealthiest Scots are drinking alcohol at the most dangerous levels. Analysis showed that 31 per cent of men and 22 per cent of women in the high-earning group, drank to excess. (The Times page 1, The Telegraph page 1)
Police spying:  Justice Secretary Michael Matheson has told MSPs he has “no idea” whether Police Scotland monitored the activities of activists and trade unionists. The minister was answering questions about the force’s alleged use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (Ripa) to spy on journalists. (The Scotsman page 16)
Cheat probe:  An assistant chief constable, Wayne Mawson will learn his fate regarding allegations that he cheated while taking a command course earlier this year. (The Herald page 7)
Mental illness assistance:  A senior police officer has called for Scotland to “spend to save” in order to get those with mental health problems out of the country’s justice system. (The Herald page 9)