News in Scotland - Monday

A new poll suggests the SNP must do more to connect the idea of
independence with day-to-day issues IMAGE: STOCKPIX.EU

Scottish News: News in Scotland - Monday


Poll shows SNP must connect independence with other issues

While the SNP remains well ahead of opposition parties - 40 percent - to win the next Holyrood election, the 'yes' camp appear to be losing the independence referendum campaign with only 26 percent registering support. The survey - commissioned by former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft - which surveyed nearly 10,000 people was dismissed by Yes Scotland for being out of date as the sampling was undertaken between February and May. The poll found that Scots voters believe the SNP government focuses too strongly on independence instead of such issues as the economy, jobs and the NHS with only one-third saying they support the priority. The findings will be viewed as evidence that the SNP is failing to present a compelling vision of independence which connects with key economic and social issues. Some pro-independence campaigners have suggested the slogan "Independence for jobs! Independence for health! Independence for education!" be deployed in order to connect the issues in the minds of voters. Lord Ashcroft commissioned three polls: 10,007 adults between Feb 22 and May 9; 1000 between June 7 and 17; and 1013 between Aug 2 and 9.

Scottish independence: Vote 'no' and join the army

Young Scots may be forced to do national service should Scotland remain part of the Union if a Bill currently going through Westminster is successful.  The Bill which will see every adult between the ages of 18 and 26 complete a year's national service is to be given a second parliamentary reading on 28 Feb 2014.  With Scots as young as 16 able to vote in the Scottish independence referendum next year, the fear of being forced into national service should Scotland remain in the Union would likely become a crucial voting factor and campaign issue.  The Bill, introduced by Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, was introduced with the aim to "Provide a system of national service for young persons; and for connected purposes."  The Bill would require A "residential element" and another key element would comprise undertaking "National Health Service, the emergency services or the Armed Forces."

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Further claims of 'recovery' as economic activity increases

Exports of led the way in an increase in economic activity in Scotland according to research commissioned by the Bank of Scotland. With the bank's activity-barometer reaching 58.3 for August - 50 being the mark used to differentiate expansion from contraction - leading the bank's chief economist to claim that the "..pace of economic recovery in Scotland is clearly quickening". However, the research does not make clear if the findings are genuine economic growth or the result of government stimulus and currency devaluation making UK goods cheaper in foreign markets.


UK crisis: Recovery or zero-hours contracts?

5.5mn Britons could be signed up to contracts which guarantee them less than three hours work a week according to survey findings. As many as 22 percent of private sector employees or 5 times more than current offi that Britain's 'economic recovery' is largely based on dramatically falling wages and skewed unemployment figures. Britain has suffered the second-largest real-terms fall in wages in the G20 with only Italy faring worse. The contracts provide no sick pay or holiday benefits however workers must seek permission before looking for alternative employment. Len McCluskey, the Unite union general secretary,  warned: "The government's refusal to address the growing scandal of zero-hours contracts is creating a sub-class of insecure and low-paid employment." The findings cast further doubt on claims of recovery and Britain's conversion to a low-skilled and low-paid economy.

UK crisis: Osborne claims 'Britain is turning a corner'

UK Chancellor George Osborne will today claim that he has won the economic argument and that 'Britain is turning a corner'. Mr Osborne is expected to round on critics who point to the UK's skyrocketing debt, currency devaluation, record low interest rates, the widespread conversion of the population to low-paid work and 'zero-hours' contracts and the exponential rise in the use of food banks as evidence that his austerity strategy has failed. However the chancellor will argue that there is a 'sustainable recovery' under way and so there should be no reversal of his deficit reduction programme.

Second union cuts Labour funding

Labour leader Ed Miliband faces faces further union problems after Unison announced it would cut its party funding by £210,000 every year. The move comes after the GMB last week reduced its Labour funding from £1.2mn to just £150,000 meaning Labour's annual funding has dropped by over £1mn in the space of a week. Unions believe Ed Miliband would rather union members joined Labour rather than affiliate through them and are venting their anger however the Labour leader appears set to continue union reforms.

Syria: Obama's top aide admits US can't prove Assad committed chemical attacks

Nobel Peace Prize winner President Obama has faced a further setback in his attempt to gather international consensus for bombing Syria after the White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said the Obama regime lacked the "irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” linking the Syrian government to a chemical weapons attack inside Damascus last month. In an attempt to convince a sceptical public and Congress McDonough argued that an attack should be based on a common sense test adding: "This is not a court of law. And intelligence does not work that way," The presidents woes have continued after his administration asserted that classified intelligence proves that it was the Assad government which carried out the attacks. Numerous congressional members who have seen the classified intelligence information say that it is no better than the public war brie and doesn’t prove anything. Congressman Justin Amash said last week: "What I heard in Obama admn briefing actually makes me more skeptical of certain significant aspects of Pres’s case for attacking" After a further briefing which included classified document the Congressman added: "Attended another classified briefing on #Syria & reviewed add’l materials. Now more skeptical than ever. Can’t believe Pres is pushing war."[...]"If Americans could read classified docs, they’d be even more against #Syria action. Obama admn’s public statements are misleading at best." Read more Congressional responses here.

Increase in US citizens on foodstamps

The number of foodstamps recipients in the US as of June 2013 rose to 47.76mn - higher than the entire population of Spain. In June, the number of households receiving foodstamps rose to 23.117mn, an increase of 46 thousand in a single month, and also a new record high. In terms of individuals a further 125,059 began using foodstamps which is triggered by reaching the poverty level. The foodstamps news has been reflected in the UK where there has been a dramatic rise in the use of foodbanks and low paid workers. Both nations claim to be in 'economic recovery'.

US spied on Brazil's state-run oil firm Petrobras

It has been revealed the the US government spied on Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobas, according to intelligence documents released by Globo television and obtained from Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. Mr Greenwald obtained secret files from the US National Security Agency (NSA) via whistleblower Edward Snowdon. The news comes after a report also based on information from Greenwald revealed the US had spied on the private communications of the presidents of both Brazil and Mexico. President Obama has sought to calm tensions promising explanations to both nations on Wednesday this week. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has warned that if no convincing explanation is forthcoming she will cancel a scheduled trip to Washington on Oct 23. Brazil is a growing power in the world and is a member of the BRICS nations.


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commented 2013-09-09 19:16:44 +0100 · Flag
Independence is not a “bread and butter” issue. It is a matter totally outside the commonplace material of conventional Brit politics. Tying it to being “better off” is fatuous. Scotland simply cannot carry on playing second fiddle to a country that is changing faster we are, Is becoming politically chauvinist and consequently more dangerous to know. Independence is concerned with restoring our confidence in our abilities as a people and survival as a nation; come hell or high water. It is an “adventure with the thrill of risk”. Presenting it as anything else is old wine in new bottles.
published this page in News 2013-09-09 14:14:30 +0100