Monthly Archives: October 2009

Global Nations? Paper on Coalition and Minority Government in Scotland

Paper to Global Nations? Irish and Scottish Expansion since the 16th Century, University of Aberdeen, October 2009

Paul Cairney, University of Aberdeen

Coalition and Minority Government in Scotland

While there is a long tradition of minority government in Ireland it is a rather alien concept in the post-war UK. Further, although Wales flirted with the idea in 1999 and 2005, the formation of an SNP government in 2007 provides the first full test of the effect of a prolonged period of minority government since devolution. This paper explores the difference that minority government makes when compared to coalition government. It suggests that the first eight years of devolution were marked by a form of majoritarian coalition government that would not seem out of place in the UK. This, combined with the inheritance of a partisan, government-versus-opposition, culture from Westminster suggests that ‘new Scottish Politics’ did not depart from ‘Old Westminster’ in the way that many expected. Therefore, the advent of minority government was accompanied by renewed calls for new politics in the spirit originally envisaged, and by renewed interest in comparisons with countries displaying a longer tradition of minority government. The early evidence suggests that the SNP was initially reluctant to enter minority government and has often disengaged from the Scottish Parliament. Most opposition parties have also failed to come to terms with their new role. Therefore, the Parliament is still not a policy-making body. Yet, the set-up has proved surprisingly stable and minority government has the potential to become the norm in Scottish politics, allowing parties to adapt to their new roles in the future.

New Party, New Politics?
The formation of a minority SNP government in 2007 produced the potential for a radically different form of politics in Scotland. Yet, this statement may seem ironic to the ‘architects of devolution’ because ‘new politics’ was supposed to begin in 1999! The use of (mixed member) proportional representation for Scottish Parliament elections suggests that no party will gain overall control. Yet, devolution initially produced the closest thing to majoritarian government: two four-year parliamentary sessions of coalition government formed by the largest party, Scottish Labour, and its junior partner, the Scottish Liberal Democrats. In 1999, Labour won 56 seats and the Liberal Democrats 17, producing a majority – 73 (57%) of 129 seats (minus one seat held by Liberal Democrat Presiding Officer David Steel). This was followed in 2003 by a reduced but still significant majority – 67 (52%) seats produced by Labour’s 50 and the Liberal Democrats’ 17 (the Presiding Officer role was taken on by the SNP’s George Reid). Crucially, the Scottish Executive coalition also commanded a majority in every Scottish Parliament committee. This control of the parliamentary arithmetic, combined with a strong and successful party whip (particularly within Labour), produced a form of majoritarian government that would not seem out of place in the UK.

In 2007 the potential for coalition was not as straightforward. The SNP won 47 seats (from 27 in 2003 and 35 in 1999) compared to Labour’s 46 but, given the nature of the overall result (the Conservatives won 17, Liberal Democrats 16, Green 2 and Margo MacDonald 1) it could not form a majority coalition with one other party. Although there was some scope for cooperation between the SNP and the Greens (based on the same attitude to Scottish independence and an SNP commitment to certain environmental issues), its potential links to the other parties were problematic. Formal coalition between the SNP and Liberal Democrats proved impossible when the latter insisted that the former drop its plans for an independence referendum as a condition of coalition. Further, a formal coalition with the Conservatives would be politically damaging for the SNP in the short term (the Conservatives are still tainted by 18 years of unpopular government in Scotland from 1979-97; the SNP is to a large extent a left-wing social democratic party) and the long term (if the Conservatives win the UK general election in 2010, the SNP may campaign for independence by highlighting the re-emergence of a ‘democratic deficit’ in Scotland and minimal support for a Conservative government ruling Scotland).

Therefore, the key point to note is that the SNP was initially reluctant, but effectively obliged, to go it alone and form a single party minority. This suggests that the renewed rhetoric on the scope for ‘new politics’ that minority government affords was only spoken loudly after the options for coalition had been exhausted and rejected. The SNP subsequently made a ‘virtue out of necessity’ (Mitchell, 2008: 79) but was uncertain about its ability to make legislative progress (or at least present an image of governing competence – Paun, 2009) and was not confident about its ability, or the ability of any minority government, to stay in office for the four-year period. This reflects two main factors.

First, despite Strøm’s (1990) best efforts, it supports a strong ‘conventional view’ of minority government that ‘associates it with instability, inefficiency, incoherence and a lack of accountability’ (Mitchell, 2008: 73; in Scotland there is also the occasional charge, regarding the SNP’s independence agenda, that minority government is unrepresentative – McIver and Gay, 2008). This is particularly true in the UK with very limited, unhappy experience of minority Westminster government in the mid and late 1970s. For Mitchell (2008: 74) this suggests that the perception is ‘historically bounded’ because minority government coincided with a traumatic period of Labour rule. There are also two more recent experience of minority government in Wales. First, it followed the first Welsh Assembly election that gave Labour 28 of 60 seats and prompted it to try minority government from May 1999. However, the process was problematic (and helped produce a vote of no-confidence in leader Alun Michael in February 2000 – Osmond, 2000: 3), in part because the institutions were new and the clarity of roles between executive and legislature were relatively unclear in the NAW. When the ‘approach failed .. a formal coalition was negotiated with the Liberal Democrats in October 2000’ (Seyd, 2002: 124). Minority government was avoided until 2005 when the withdrawal of Labour’s Peter Law – for both health (Law was diagnosed with brain tumour) and political reasons (Law objected to all-women shortlists) – reduced Labour’s number from 30 to 29 AMs (Seaton and Osmond, 2005: 8-9). This experience also accentuated the negative picture of minority government, producing a willingness of the opposition parties to ‘cooperate in wounding Labour’ by delaying the Assembly budget for months (Wyn Jones and Scully, 2006) and overturning Welsh Assembly Government policy on tuition fees (Cairney, 2009a) rather than to cooperate in a positive way to achieve concessions.

The picture of instability caused by inevitable partisanship continued following the election results in 2007 and a process of ‘disarray’ (Mulholland, 2007) before Labour chose to form a historic coalition majority with Plaid Cymru rather than go it alone (although it was sold in many quarters as a bold move to provide further policy distance from New Labour in London). The common factor in these cases is that the main parties associate minority government with turmoil and have striven to avoid the possibility ever since. It is rare for governments in the UK and devolved territories to go down this route through choice.

Second, there is a strong, longstanding culture or set of assumptions held by most parties in Scotland in favour of the value that a majority provides. Minority equates with instability not opportunity; potential opposition and disarray, not opportunities for new politics. Although the ideas associated with a new style of politics and policymaking (that would arguably make minority government desirable as well as possible) were in good currency before devolution, they were rejected in 1999 by a Labour party more likely to favour stability as a basis for its legislative programme, and accepted very reluctantly by a Scottish National Party with little room for manoeuvre. In this light, the two years of minority government have been marked not only by calls (eventually) for the return of new politics, but also by the remarkable turnaround of the image of minority government in Scotland with or without the new politics in evidence (for a so-called ‘insider view’ on this development, see Harvie, 2008).

New Politics Revisited
‘New politics’ became a ‘rallying call for the architects of devolution’ and, as such, a lens through which most evaluations of Scottish political success have been measured ever since (McGarvey and Cairney, 2008: 14). It was promoted for two main reasons. First, it became linked to the unsuccessful referendum on Scottish devolution in 1979 followed by a long spell of Conservative government which increased attention to the ‘democratic deficit’ (in which Scotland voted for one party of government, Labour, but received another). The new campaign for devolution took shape following the set-up of the Scottish Constitutional Convention (SCC) – a collection of political parties (primarily Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green), the Scottish Trade Union Congress, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organizations, religious leaders, local authorities and civic organizations – in 1989 (2008: 34). The SCC sought to reinvigorate elite, media and popular support for devolution by addressing the concerns associated with previous devolution proposals and articulating a new vision of Scottish politics based on narratives of its past. This rhetoric became inextricably linked to dissatisfaction with the democratic deficit and a feeling that devolution could have saved Scotland from the worst excesses of Thatcherism (McCrone and Lewis, 1999: 17). Indeed, the SCC vision was developed at the same time that many of its participants were acting as the unelected opposition to Conservative government rule. Thus, the remote, top-down and unitary UK state was contrasted with a vision of consensus for Scotland based on a narrative of Scotland’s political tradition and longstanding propensity for the diffusion of power, combined with popular and civic participation in politics (Cairney, Halpin and Jordan, 2009). The SCC (1990; 1995) articulated hopes for: ‘participatory democracy in which the Scottish population would seek to influence decisions made in Scotland directly rather than through a ballot box which seemed so remote; pluralist democracy, in which interest and social groups would seek to counter policies ‘unsuitable’ for Scotland at all levels of implementation; and deliberative democracy, in which a separate level of debate about the direction of UK policies implemented in Scotland could take place’ (McGarvey and Cairney, 2008: 244).

Second, it followed a perceived crisis of popular disenchantment with politics, producing the potential for a Scottish Parliament to be seen as yet-another layer of bureaucracy or source of yet-another pool of self-serving politicians with no meaningful link to, or care for, their populations. In both cases, the devolution agenda embodied hopes for a new style of politics far removed from ‘Old Westminster’ as the main source of discredited policymaking. While some attention was paid by the architects of devolution to the ‘consensus democracies’ (and Nordic politics in general), most was devoted to making sure that old politics was left behind.

New politics was therefore based on a range of perceived defects of the UK system, including, primarily, an electoral system that exaggerates government majorities, excludes small parties, concentrates power within government rather than Parliament and its committees, contributes to parliamentary ‘overload’ and encourages adversarialism between government and opposition (2008: 12-3). This concentration of power and ‘winner takes all’ attitude may also extend to the government’s top-down relationship with interest groups (more likely to compete rather than cooperate with each other) and its remoteness from the population that it is supposed to represent (at least according to the new politics rhetoric; see also Lijphart, 1999 and Cairney, 2008a). Thus, new politics referred in part to the selection of a proportional electoral system and all that this produces, including the strong likelihood of coalition, the need for parties to bargain and cooperate and, hopefully, a consequent reduction in partisanship and rise in consensual forms of politics.

To foster a sense of ‘power sharing’ between government, parliament and the public, the parliament was not only set up as a hub for popular participation (including a new public petitions process) but also vested with an unusual range of powers (when compared to other West European legislatures). In particular, while the Consultative Steering Group (a cross-party group with members drawn from the SCC, established by the UK Labour Government and charged with producing the standing orders of the Scottish Parliament) recognised the ‘need for the Executive to govern’, or produce most legislation and make most expenditure decisions, it also envisaged a much stronger parliamentary role (Scottish Office, 1998; McGarvey and Cairney, 2008: 90). It recommended: the fusion of Westminster’s standing and select committee functions, to enable members scrutinising legislation to develop subject based expertise; the ability of select committees to call witnesses and oblige ministers and civil servants to attend; and, the ability to hold agenda-setting inquiries and to initiate legislation if dissatisfied with the government response. Crucially, the select committees were also charged with performing two new roles to ‘front-load’ the legislative process and make up for the fact that, in the absence of the House of Lords, there would be no revising chamber. First, they would have a formal pre-legislative role, charged with making sure that the government consults adequately with its population before presenting legislation to parliament (McGarvey and Cairney, 2008: 91; 104). Second, they would consider both the principles of legislation and specific amendments to bills before they were discussed in plenary.

Coalition Government from 1999-2007
The first eight years of devolution proved that new powers and institutions were not effective on their own. Rather, the implementation of new politics also required a cultural change among MSPs and political parties (Cairney, 2006). To a large extent, we know this now because no profound cultural change took place. Rather, we witnessed a curious mix of institutions based in part on the consensual democracies operated by politicians in the Westminster tradition (note that 15 of 129 MSPs in 1999 had previously been MPs – Keating and Cairney, 2006: 52). Although the parties betrayed a limited degree of ideological polarisation, they reproduced a form of government-versus-opposition politics that Westminster parties would be proud of. In particular, the Labour-SNP relationship in the Scottish Parliament reflected a ‘reactionary mentality’ in which ‘some Labour MPs were so paranoid about the Nationalists that any idea emanating from the SNP was immediately rejected because of its source’ (Dennis Canavan MSP in Arter, 2004: 83). Similarly, the opposition parties were quick to exploit government weaknesses on issues such as ‘Lobbygate’ (when Labour ministers were linked to the ‘cash for access’ row), the cost of the Scottish Parliament building, and Scottish Executive coalition tensions regarding flagship policies such as free personal care and the abolition of student fees (McGarvey and Cairney, 2008: 40; 122; 205; 242).

The Scottish Parliament was primarily driven by parties rather than ‘independent-minded MSPs’ (Mitchell, 2008: 77). Most importantly, the coalition formed between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, while providing “superficial evidence of ‘new politics’” arguably ‘marked the end of the possibility’ of the more meaningful political style envisaged by its architects: ‘a minority single-party Labour cabinet obliged to work in the Scandinavian manner with the opposition parties to get legislation through, would have vested parliament with significant policy influence and constituted ‘new politics’ in a real sense’ (Arter, 2004: 83). Instead, the parties formed a governing majority. This gave Labour the sense of control that they feared would be lost if they were forced to cooperate on a regular basis with the SNP: ‘We have to have a settled programme rather than a programme where we could be ambushed every time’ (Maureen Macmillan, Labour MSP, in Arter, 2004: 83). Further, the parties produced successive partnership agreements that tied both to a detailed programme of legislation and towards supporting the Scottish Executive line (and collective cabinet responsibility) throughout.

The effect of the strong party role was dramatic. The coalition controlled the voting process in both committees and plenary, with Labour demonstrating a particularly strong whip in both parliamentary sessions – caused in part because their MSPs were screened rigorously before their selection (McGarvey and Cairney, 2008: 85; Mitchell, 2008: 77) and because Labour ministers held regular meetings with Labour MSPs before any committee meeting in which a significant vote or decision was likely to take place (although this can occasionally be used to exert committee power – see Cairney, 2007a: 79). There were similarly few instances of Liberal Democrat dissent (and none which threatened the coalition’s Partnership Agreement overall). The parties were also able to dictate which of their members became convenors of committees (although the numbers of convenors are allocated proportionately) and even which MSPs sat on particular committees. As a result, the independent role of committees was undermined as MSPs were subject to committee appointment and then whipped, while committee turnover was too high too allow a meaningful level of MSP subject expertise (McGarvey and Cairney, 2008: 99; Scottish Council Foundation, 2002; Arter, 2003: 31–2).

The experience from 1999-2007 suggests that it would be wrong to equate the formal capacity of legislatures with their power or influence over policy outcomes (Arter, 2006; Cairney, 2006; McGarvey and Cairney, 2008). Rather, this is largely an empirical question based not only on the formal roles of institutions (and actors within them), but also their resources and willingness and ability to exercise power in particular instances. In many (if not most) cases the powers of certain legislatures only look impressive when compared to other legislatures, not their executives. This was certainly the case when the Scottish Executive coalition dominated the legislative process, passing the vast majority of an extensive legislation programme which undermined the ability of Parliament to set the policy agenda through inquiries. The Scottish Executive presided over a punishing legislative schedule, producing the sense in which committees became part of a ‘legislative sausage machine’ rather than powerful bodies able to set the agenda through the inquiry process (Arter, 2002: 105). While there is some evidence of parliamentary influence during the scrutiny of government legislation (Shephard and Cairney, 2005; Cairney, 2006), the Scottish Executive produced and amended the majority of bills (McGarvey and Cairney, 2008: 106; reinforcing the rule of thumb by Olson, in Arter, 2006: 250, that the executives initiate 90% of legislation and gets 90% of what they want). There was also a trend from 2003 towards increased Scottish Executive dominance, perhaps following the honeymoon period of the first session (and despite the new makeup of the Parliament in which more small parties were represented) but also because the Scottish Executive used legislation (which was often unnecessary; it could have pursued the policy with non-legislative means) to set the Scottish Parliament’s agenda.

Overall, the Scottish Parliament and its committees enjoyed neither the resources with which to scrutinise government policy effectively nor the stability or independence necessary to assert their new powers. Further, although members and committees have the ability to initiate legislation, the same rules apply: members are constrained by party affiliation and limited resources, while committees rarely find the time or inclination to legislate. Therefore, after a honeymoon period in the first parliamentary session, the Scottish Parliament produced a level of non-executive legislation comparable in number and scope with Westminster (McGarvey and Cairney, 2008: 103). From 1999-2003, 50 Scottish Executive, 1 committee and 8 member’s bills were passed while from 2003-7 the split was 53, 1, and 3. From 1999-2003 166 inquiries were conducted (Arter, 2004: 77), but this fell to 99 in 2003–07 (of which 11 were short or one-day inquiries). In short, ‘while the Scottish Parliament’s powers are extensive in comparison to most West European legislatures, it is much more difficult to demonstrate the effects of their powers in relation to the Government in the first two parliamentary sessions’ (2008: 108). The evidence of new politics and the effects of the new institutions were thin on the ground (at least in the context of initial expectations).

Therefore, it is understandable that May 2007 was seen by many as a new beginning. However, while newly-elected Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson used his acceptance speech to call for the return of new politics (Scottish Parliament Official Report 14.5.07 col. 13), most commentators did not know what to expect. There is no accepted way for the parties to gauge the success or failure of the new arrangements.

Minority Government Since 2007: Is this what new politics looks like?
There are many ways to measure the importance of minority government. In particular, we may wish to separate, analytically, issues of governing legitimacy and the interactions between parties and institutions from policy outcomes. For example, in broad terms, many of the omens did not look good: there is still a culture of government-versus-opposition and minority government was a necessity rather than a choice. In other words, Scottish politics lacked a factor key to minority government success: a feeling that it is a desirable way to engage in politics. On the other hand, it is striking how quickly minority government has become the norm in Scotland in the sense that, while the SNP Government is challenged regularly on its policies or governing record, its right to govern is not. There are similar contradictions throughout party politics. Although the SNP rarely voted against Labour policies when in opposition, it was generally critical of them (Mitchell, 2008: 76). Although the new and outgoing First Minsters, Alex Salmond and Jack McConnell, both made positive noises about their new relationship (SPOR 16.5.07 cols. 32-7), it is difficult to ignore the bruising tone of Labour’s election campaign followed by its shock and then apparent unwillingness to accept defeat (Cairney, 2009b).

Such tensions are reflected in one of the longest running sores in the new session: the use by opposition MSPs of points of order to question the veracity of ministerial statements. While we may accept and even enjoy a degree of partisanship during the theatre of First Minister’s Questions, this has been taken to the extreme by allegations of ministerial misconduct when making untruthful or misleading statements to Parliament (see Cairney, 2009c: 30). This prompted two actions (on top of a belated revision to the Scottish Ministerial Code). First, Alex Salmond took the unprecedented step of referring complaints about his conduct to the new independent advisory panel consisting of the two former Presiding Officers David Steel and George Reid (which ruled in both cases that he did not mislead Parliament – Cairney, 2009e: 32-3; Cairney, 2009f: 41). Second, Alex Fergusson reiterated a belief held variously by all Presiding Officers (and reflected in Standing Orders) that he should not become the arbiter of the truthfulness of comments made by any MSP in Parliament. Instead, he asked the Standards committee to investigate the use of points of order. In turn, the committee endorsed Fergusson’s view, proposed that it produce new guidance on the party political use of points of order and called for a joint protocol between Scottish Government and Parliament on their respective roles (Cairney, May 2009e: 32). Thus, over two years into the new relationship, there is still a sense of learning by doing.

In most other cases it is difficult to separate issues of executive-legislative relationships from their policy effects. Most important is the extent to which the Scottish Government invites the Scottish Parliament to examine its policies (or the extent to which the Parliament asserts its right to scrutinise Government policy). While the main measure of this activity is the extent to which it publishes draft legislation for parliamentary scrutiny, there is no agreement about how much primary legislation (and of what degree of substance) should be brought to Parliament in one session. Although we know there has been too much in the past, we do not quite know what is too little.

With regards to the former, a key outcome of the 1999-2007 sessions was a widespread sense that too much legislation had been produced and that a new government should slow down (Cairney, 2007b: 83; 2007c: 24; Mitchell, in correspondence). This was a feature of the ‘legacy’ reports produced by committees in 2007 that suggested they were unable to perform their scrutiny and inquiry functions properly because there was too much legislation to consider (McGarvey and Cairney, 2008: 102). Minority government certainly had an effect on part of this process. The SNP Government, already committed in its manifesto to a reduction in legislative volume (and faced with a tight budget that precluded expensive policy innovation), has found that it does not have the votes to pass legislative measures that it would certainly have introduced if it enjoyed a majority (the SNP also modified its ‘1st 100 days’ commitments considerably). Indeed, the independence referendum bill may be the only one introduced when the SNP knows that it will likely fail (and this outcome is still uncertain). While this reduction of legislative activity is a welcome development, it produces a key question: does the reduction in legislation demonstrate the power of the Scottish Parliament or the Scottish Government?

The choice of the latter is in part based on criticism that the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction. Legislative diarrhoea has been replaced by constipation. Some of this criticism can be explained away by party politics, particularly when voiced by members of the former Scottish Executive parties. For example, the SNP’s first legislative programme was dubbed by opposition parties as ‘legislation lite’ (Cairney, 2007b: 83), while Labour’s business manager, Michael McMahon, recently labelled Alex Salmond as a ‘work-shy First Minister leading a group of idle ministers’ because the Scottish Government had passed seven pieces of legislation in two years (Peterkin, 2009; note that opposition party criticism of the legislative programme has always been an annual event). Although this has been addressed to some extent by a recent flurry of activity – there were 15 Scottish Government bills by September 2009 – there may still be a residual sense that the strategy of the SNP Government has been to distance itself as far as possible from the Scottish Parliament and pursue its policy aims without recourse to legislation (Cairney, 2007b: 83; although the counterargument is that the excessive production of legislation in the first eight years exaggerated the drop since 2007).

The ability of the SNP to maintain policy distance reflects the consistent imbalance of power in Scotland between executive and legislative institutions regardless of the type of government and party balance. The Scottish Government has the vast majority of policy capacity and many of its policy aims (on intergovernmental relations, the civil service, capital finance projects, public service targets, prescription charges) can be pursued without using legislation, while others can be pursued using the legislation that exists (i.e. with secondary legislation and regulations much less subject to parliamentary scrutiny). Further, most of the conditions associated with majority government still apply. Small committee size and MSP turnover still undermine the abilities of committees to scrutinize government policy and the huge gulf in resources remains (Cairney, 2008b: 17).

Consequently, the Parliament has not filled the legislative gap. There has not been a perceptible rise in successful legislation initiated by committees or MSPs since 2007 (from May 2007-September 2009 the split was 15, 1, and 3). While there was some talk by Labour regarding their alternative legislative programme (Cairney, 2008e: 97; 2009e: 31), this has not taken off (and seems to consist of four member’s bills ). While committees have more time to set the policy agenda through inquiries, few committees have used their newly-granted time effectively and found enough common ground to pursue a long-term inquiry in any meaningful way, while others have merely exploited the chance to make party political points with short, headline grabbing, inquiries (Cairney, 2008b: 16 discusses the inquiry into Donald Trump’s development in the Menie estate; see also 2008c: 17-18; 2008d: 20-1; for more recent evidence that committees are able to find areas of common interest, see Cairney, 2008d: 21; 2009c: 37-8; 2009f: 45-8). In the first two years there were approximately 40 inquiries or reports which were not conducted in response to draft bills or legislative consent motions – with at least 10 related to Scottish Parliament procedures, not government policy.

There is also unclear evidence on the tangible effect of the new parliamentary arithmetic on Scottish Government legislation. While we can reasonably expect more government defeats and amendments coming from opposition parties, the effect on the substance of legislation does not seem particularly significant (analysis of this effect by Steven MacGregor is ongoing). Similarly, although there may be evidence that civil servants are now more likely to anticipate the reactions of opposition parties when developing policy (Paun, 2009: 52), there is less evidence to suggest that this has affected that policy substantively. Instead, civil servants appear to be committed to implementing SNP policy and, in some cases, defending that policy and the Scottish Government’s record in public (Paun, 2009: 52; Cairney, 2009g: 53). Further, the process is nothing like coalition government in which civil servants had to clear policy with two parties (Paun, 2009: 52). Therefore, if anything, the Scottish Parliament has become a policy-stifling forum acting as a deterrent to some policy initiation, slowing down the legislative sausage machine without using the extra time to any great effect. It is therefore tempting, still, to conclude that most policy activity is going on elsewhere – particularly since the new concordat between the Scottish Government and local authorities allows a significant degree of discretion over policy priorities (such as class sizes in schools) that the opposition parties have a keen interest in but a lack of powers to direct.

This situation is not altogether surprising because, despite the range of Scottish Parliament ‘powers’, it was not designed to be a policy initiating body. Rather, the institution represents an attempt to improve on the scrutiny powers of Westminster without marking a profound change in the executive-legislative relationship. Committees have the power to hold ministers and civil servants to account, to make sure they consult properly (i.e. they are not expected to undertake large consultations themselves) and to initiate legislation as a last resort if MSPs believe that government policy is inadequate. Yet, they are also instructed by the CSG to let the government govern, arguably encouraged to play a minimal pre-legislative role and, in the case of the budget, not equipped to develop alternative legislation (although see Cairney, 2009f: 47-8 for a discussion of the Finance Committee inquiry and new Financial Scrutiny Unit). The Scottish Parliament also lacks Westminster’s equivalent of a ‘scrutiny reserve’ for EU issues, while the recent process surrounding the release of the Lockerbie bomber suggests that it has no role to play before such Scottish ministerial decisions are made (see Cairney, 2009f: 40-1). Further, the resources of committees and opposition parties are too thin on the ground to provide anything more than scrutiny and criticism (and there appears to be no appetite to boost the resources of committees). It would therefore take much more than minority government to solve the wider problem of parliamentary constraint.

Relatedly, Scottish Parliament committees still do not provide the ‘motor of a new politics’, particularly since Labour’s front bench does not sit on them and Labour has not yet fully engaged with them (in part because the former Scottish Executive does not want to scrutinise its own policies). Rather, key debates are played out and negotiations are conducted in plenary. Indeed, there seems to be a rise in the propensity to overturn decisions reached in committee in plenary (although the research, by Steven McGregor, is still in progress). In the 1999-2003 session the key indicator of respect for committee decisions was the non-Executive amendment of Executive legislation – less than 80% of these were reversed by a Scottish Executive (which had the majority to reverse them all), in part because committee assertiveness was linked to at least one vote by an MSP from a Scottish Executive party (Cairney, 2006: 203). Now, the parliamentary arithmetic is such that a Scottish Government bill may be amended against its wishes at stage 2 merely because the Scottish Government and its supporting party do not have enough votes, only for this to be reversed in plenary at stage 3 when they do (see e.g. The Herald, 2009). Or, in the case of the Graduate Endowment Abolition (Scotland) Bill, the whole bill may be rejected in committee only to be approved in plenary (Cairney, 2008b: 23). In many cases this is linked to the post-2007 abandonment by convenors of the status quo convention. Instead, many are using their casting vote politically, in turn undermining the less established convention that committee decisions are respected in plenary.

There may be some cases, such as the climate change bill, in which we see the best of minority government or the potential for new politics; a genuine attempt by the SNP to pursue a partly ideological policy and a willingness to negotiate the details, combined with opposition party willingness to cooperate and give the necessary support in exchange for concessions (although more research is required to determine how many concessions are merely ‘handout’ amendments from the Scottish Government). Yet, such examples do not seem to be common.

This fact alone may not be enough to provoke opposition parties to ‘go nuclear’ and cooperate to undermine the government (at least while the SNP remains popular). Rather, greater concern has been expressed that the government has deliberately sought to subvert the role of Parliament by ignoring its wishes when expressed through parliamentary motions (Davidson, 2008). The first such event followed the motion passed by the opposition parties in favour of continued funding for the Edinburgh Airport Rail Link and Edinburgh tram project. Both John Swinney and Alex Salmond were then accused on bending the will of Parliament, with Swinney citing irresolvable problems in EARL and Salmond quoting Donald Dewar to suggest that he was not bound by parliamentary motions (Cairney, 2007c; 22; Mitchell, 2008: 80). However, even in this case there is evidence of a negotiated position (the trams project did go ahead) and ministers generally seek to avoid unnecessary confrontations (particularly since they produce opposition party pressure to resign – see the case of Kenny MacAskill and court reform – Cairney, 2009d: 52). Instead, SNP whips and business managers seek to avoid confrontations by negotiating the wording of motions with their counterparts in other parties (Cairney, 2008c: 18; 2009c: 35-6) and acting on many motions (Cairney, 2008b: 21), including the decision to drop plans for a flagship bill introducing a local income tax. Few motions force the hands of the Scottish Government. Far more motions either demonstrate a lack of united opposition or merely (in examples such as police numbers or rural schools), ‘seek to reinforce existing Scottish Government policies and place them higher on its agenda’ (Cairney, 2009e: 38). This semi-agenda-setting role is also a feature of the better committee inquiries (Cairney, 2009f: 45-8). Overall, this may be what new politics looks like in practice.

The Annual Budgets
The annual budget bill process has taken on a new significance under minority government. It is the most important legislative test so far, in part because there is an obligation for both sides to agree on the bill. Effectively, for minority government to continue the Scottish Government must seek agreement for its budget and the opposition parties must find a way to reach a negotiated settlement. This process has shown the best and worst aspects of minority government. First, it is certainly more significant than under coalition government when it was rather routine. Yet, there are still similarities: only government ministers may amend the bill, while committees still tend to focus on limited aspects of the budget (reflecting a lack of information and resources with which to conduct effective scrutiny). Second, there have clearly been concessions, although their overall importance is debatable (they do not contradict SNP policy but do force it to make choices; they may represent less than 1% of the overall budget, but the SNP government also has minimal control of the budget beyond the margins). In the first budget, the Conservatives secured a greater commitment to funding new police officers and revisit drugs policy, independent Margo MacDonald secured special funding status for Edinburgh and the Greens secured a commitment to carbon assessments of spending plans (Cairney, 2008c: 16). In the second, the Conservatives secured a reduction in business rates, Labour secured funding for modern apprenticeships and the Liberal Democrats secured a vague commitment for the SNP to involve Parliament more in budget planning and engage with the Calman Commission on fiscal autonomy (the Greens lost a larger commitment to fund home insulation when their votes were no longer required). Third, most parties have yet to take a consistent negotiating positions. The Conservative party has been the only consistent actor, seeking concessions in exchange for support; the Greens surprised many by voting against the second bill despite securing concessions; and the Liberal Democrats have opposed the bill in both years, only to support the second bill when revised marginally. Labour has been the most confused, abstaining in year one for fear of causing the bill to fall (causing hilarity rather than relief on the SNP front benches), then opposing in year two (on the assumption that the SNP had secured Green support) and contributing unwittingly to the bill’s failure. A similar example of Labour and Liberal Democrat bafflement and miscalculation regarding the effects of its negative role can be found in the failure of the Creative Scotland Bill (Cairney, 2008d: 15).

Finally, the failure of the second budget bill did not deserve the incredible amount of Scottish and UK attention it attracted. Rather, the process eventually showed that the parties could work together very effectively when faced with an apparent crisis, and a new bill (almost identical to the defeated one) was passed the following week. The budget crisis showed that there is little appetite among the opposition parties for an impromptu election, particularly while Alex Salmond remains popular. It is also the most significant example of SNP-Labour cooperation which may prove crucial to the long term success of minority government. This may be reinforced both by the SNP’s new willingness to pursue its ‘flagship’ alcohol policy primarily through parliamentary-influenced legislation and Scottish Labour’s apparent willingness to support most measures (Maddox, 2009a; 2009b; Cairney, 2009g: 57). So does this suggest that minority government in Scotland can become stable and a phenomenon that is repeated beyond 2011?

Will Minority Government Become the Norm? Lessons from Elsewhere
It is relatively easy to explain the occurrence in 2007 of minority government in Scotland as a one-off: despite favouring a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, the SNP was not willing to make the key concession – dropping its plans for a referendum on independence – that the Liberal Democrats (who appeared to some extent to be disenchanted with 8 years in government) put forward as a condition of coalition. Further, a coalition with other parties was either not politically desirable (Conservatives) or possible (Labour, the main competitor). It is more difficult to predict whether or not this process will be repeated. One way to explore the durability of minority government in Scotland is to extrapolate lessons from two types of comparative literature – studies which suggest universal rules for government formation and more detailed studies of individual countries.

According to Strøm (1990: 21) the problem of predicting that minority governments will become regular or the norm is that they ‘violate many basic assumptions of how parliamentary democracy works … They are a counterintuitive phenomenon’. The ‘conventional’ view is that minority governments form in ‘unstable and conflictual political systems, whose party systems may be highly fractionalized. Such cabinets are suboptimal and unstable solutions, which are resorted to only when all else fails’ (Strøm, 1990: 15). They do not follow the rational decisions of political parties and are associated in this literature with ‘malaise, irrationality and poor performance’ (1990: 21).

Drawing on Strøm’s (1990: 11-20) review of existing theories it is difficult to equate the Scottish experience with this literature:

1. Political crisis and instability. In this case, minorities arise because there is a systemic crisis that precludes coalition or a specific crisis that undermines coalition forming in one time period. However, in both cases the process is underspecified (1990: 10). It would be difficult to explain the SNP’s minority in crisis terms since a coalition with the Liberal Democrats was possible and at some stages seemed likely. Rather, for both parties this resembles more of a strategic calculation rather than one forced upon them (although there is a deadline to elect a First Minister in 28 days).
2. Political culture and heritage. Luebbert (in Strøm, 1990: 11-2) explains minority formation in terms of two characteristics of the political regime: (1) the degree of regime legitimacy; and (2) the extent to which opposition parties engage in consensus-building legislation. If both are high, this is a consensual democracy. If both are low, this is a conflictual democracy. In consensual democracies minorities form because there is no incentive to form a coalition majority. In conflictual democracies they form because not enough parties can agree enough to form a coalition. It is possible that 1 may be high but 2 low – this is a competitive system – but Luebbert suggests that this is rare. Yet, the UK political culture that Scotland inherited appears to be competitive and it combines cultures or norms based on conflict (e.g. an adversarial system of government versus opposition) and consensus (e.g. there was a widespread understanding between the parties of the unwritten rules of government formation – that the SNP had the right to try to form a coalition or minority government first because it had the most seats). Therefore, both coalition and minority governments may both be the logical consequences of negotiations in Scotland; the incentives to form a coalition and the extent of party agreement vary over time.
3. Party system fractionalization. Sartori (in Strøm, 1990: 12-3) associates minority government with ‘moderate pluralism’, which describes a system with 3-5 significant parties and the inability of any to maintain a majority (‘polarized pluralism’ has more parties at more extreme ends of the left-right scale). The rational position for at least one party is that the largest minority should not be allowed to govern alone when it can oblige that party to share power in a coalition. Thus, minorities result when parties do not act rationally or when, for example, they miscalculate their negotiating positions. Strøm (1990: 13) links this position to explanations based on the ‘fractionalization’ or fragmentation of party systems, in which the more parties there are and the more they split the electorate then the more difficult it is to form a majority. This has direct relevance to Scotland at a basic level, in that the introduction of PR has produced moderate pluralism rather than single party majority government. Yet, it is difficult to explain fully the Scottish position in terms of fragmentation and miscalculated negotiations. The decision by the SNP and Liberal Democrats not to form a coalition was based to a large extent on a basic ideological difference (and, for the latter, ambivalence about re-entering government) rather than a miscalculation. Perhaps both overestimated the extent to which each would compromise or back down to secure power, but both also seemed to revert to a position that was not particularly unfavourable to them – the idea of minority status for the SNP and outsider status for the Liberal Democrats grew on them both. Further, when compared to other systems elected under PR, Scotland does not display a particularly high degree of fragmentation – there are only two parties with the ability to form the majority of a coalition, competing with two smaller parties. While in 2003 parties such as the Greens and Scottish Socialist party enjoyed more seats, Labour and the Liberal Democrats also enjoyed a majority.
4. Cleavage conflict and polarisation. In this case, minorities form because the parties are too divided ideologically to form an agreement. Instead, one party takes on a ‘caretaker’ status (Powell in Strøm, 1990: 14), suggesting that the expectation is that the minority will not continue beyond the next election. To some extent we can see this ideological divide between the SNP and the other major parties. Strøm (1990: 65; 270) characterises the SNP as ‘extremist’ and therefore less likely to enter into negotiations. However, the waters are muddied to some extent by the SNP’s new position that it will only seek a referendum on independence. This is something that all parties could sign up for (the others in the hope that the referendum would be unsuccessful). Further, there is not a tangible sense of the SNP becoming a caretaker rather than full-term government, particularly since it passed non-routine legislation to abolish higher education tuition fees less than a year after taking office.
5. Proximate Conditions. Minority governments form when all other options have been exhausted or when no other options exist; they ‘represent failed interparty negotiations (Strøm, 1990: 15). This is most associated with rational choice explanations of coalition building, with minority government rarely seen as the rational outcome or positive equilibrium. Rather, it is ‘commonly explained through reference to constraints, limited choice, failure of negotiation, and lower-order preferences, conditions that are often tied to the negotiation process itself’ (1990: 15). Normally it follows a high number of failed coalition attempts. We can see this potential for failure in these terms because the unusual party arithmetic meant that a coalition between two parties (bar SNP and Labour) would not have been enough and even if the SNP had secured Liberal Democrat support, it also needed help from the 2 Green MSPs who were only willing to provide limited and conditional support. Yet, few coalition negotiations took place and minority government did not follow a failed coalition. Further, while the focus on failed negotiations could be used to explain minority government in Scotland, it is difficult to see why the outcome should be seen as a failure rather than the rational decisions of parties making choices based on their preferences.

It is not surprising that such theories fail to fully account for the Scottish outcome, since Strøm (1990: 15) suggests that they are fairly ad hoc and inadequate explanations, not backed up by empirical evidence, for a phenomenon that is by no means exceptional. Minority government accounts for approximately one-third of all post-war parliamentary governments and 28% of government tenure, with only 11% of minority governments accompanied by formal agreements with supporting parties (1990: 59; 95; 116). Further, while coalition government (rather than single-party majority) is the most common in parliamentary democracies (Muller and Strøm, 2003: 1) and they last approximately 25% longer than minority governments (17-18 months compared to 13-14; for a majority party it is 30), they are also more likely to dissolve as a result of ‘crisis’ and to produce a negative incumbency effect. Therefore, minority government may be an attractive proposition for parties (Strøm, 1990: 130).

On this basis, Strøm’s (1990: 38; 69) alternative is to argue that the choice of minority government is rational in many cases, in part by questioning the assumptions of coalition formation – that majority status is necessary for effective government formation, that party leaders are motivated solely by the pursuit of power rather than policy objectives, and that one must hold government office to have policy influence (although the degree of non-governmental influences varies by party and polity) – and highlighting the balance between long term and short term rationality. In particular, the incumbency effect suggests that the longer term pursuit of election success may be consistent with a short term absence from office or damaged by a period office (particularly if a condition of office is accepting and promoting policies that undermine the relationship between the party and its core electorate). In other words, the crucial condition for minority stability is that other parties do not seek to force a coalition. If those parties ‘value policy influence and electoral success, government participation need not be their best strategy … [instead they may] wait for more favourable circumstances’ (1990: 56; 69). This is based on the assumption that elections are ‘decisive’: parties present clear alternatives, elections produce significant fluctuations in the share of seats held by parties, parties are less likely to be in office when they lose seats, and cabinets are formed soon after elections (1990: 73-4).

Strøm’s argument is that minority government is more likely when opposition parties are happy to remain outside of government. In turn, this is more likely when they can exert influence in opposition while biding their time waiting for the next election to reduce the incumbent government’s standing and increase their own. In other words, there is a clear long term gain associated with opposition that a rational party leader would recognise when considering the short term benefits of office as the smaller party within a coalition. This is a probabilistic argument: the more scope for opposition influence that the political system affords, and the more decisive an election is, then the more likely that minority governments will form.

In these broad terms we can identify many of the key Scottish Parliament dynamics. First, and most importantly, it is increasingly clear that minority status does not preclude effective government formation (particularly since the election of a First Minister requires only a plurality of the vote and the subsequent approval of ministers is effectively a formality). Rather, it constrains the nature or volume of legislation that will be accepted by the Scottish Parliament, which is not the same thing when a government can pursue policy through non-legislative means. While the SNP may not pass some bills which are central to the delivery of its manifesto, it still enjoys the power to control the resources of the Scottish Government and pass most of its proposed legislation and has yet to face a motion of no confidence. Further, by forming a single party government it benefits from the lack of detailed policy compromises that a majority coalition (or formal minority government agreement with a supporting party) would entail. It has also survived two defeats on its proposed legislation (and regular defeats on non-binding motions). Second, we can detect in the Liberal Democrats (to some extent) a desire to return to opposition to reclaim ideological distance from other parties, while in the Conservatives we can see a clear strategy of exchanging support for policy influence (particularly during budget negotiations). Finally, in Labour we can detect the realisation that the short term pursuit of office would have a longer term effect on its popularity (particularly since it is also tied to an unpopular UK Labour Government). Thus, minority government formation may be more likely in Scotland than in other countries that do not have parties playing these roles.

However, our findings are heavily qualified when we explore Strøm’s measure of opposition influence (there is also not, as yet, a negative incumbency effect for the SNP government). While Strøm (1990: 42) identifies ‘very significant policy influence’ in studies of Italian, French and Norwegian legislatures, we may struggle to identify the same level of direct and positive influence in Scotland (without considering the extent to which opposition parties benefit from the passage of policies consistent with their aims). Indeed, if we were to use Arter’s (2006: 251) four measures, it would be difficult to demonstrate with existing output measures that the Scottish Parliament is more powerful than Westminster (which represents, in comparative studies, the government dominated legislature). Significantly, this is despite the fact that the Scottish Parliament enjoys virtually all of the powers that, in Mattson and Strøm’s (2004: 100–1) work, point to unusually high committee strength (McGarvey and Cairney, 2008: 97) and, for Strøm, denote high opposition influence (it has at least 10 committees with fixed jurisdictions, select committees linked to ministerial departments, and committee chairs allocated proportionately by party). It is also despite the relative ease with which the opposition parties could pass a vote of no confidence (for Strøm, 1990: 108, a key factor of minority stability in Denmark). In others words, the Scottish case reinforces the need, explored in Arter’s (2006) edited volume, to challenge the idea that some legislatures are powerful because they appear to have the capacity to be powerful (and, as Cairney, 2006 argues, this is power compared to other legislatures, not its government). The high formal capacity of legislatures does not necessarily produce opposition party influence.

In part this may be because although the institutions were designed to be ‘inclusive’ as in Norway, the culture is adversarial as in Westminster (see Strøm, 1990: 90). There also seems to be reluctance among many parties to try to exercise policy influence (in part because, unlike in some legislatures, there is no requirement of the government to achieve parliamentary approval in advance for its legislative programme). Further, the Scottish committees not only lack resources in the form of staff but also their own members (most post-2007 committees have 8), since the pool of recruitment is much smaller than Westminster which also offers a clearer alternative career route for MPs. Overall, an important caveat in Scotland is that the payoffs seem to be far greater for the governing party than those seeking influence through opposition (there is a high ‘policy influence differential’). Despite Strom’s expectations based on formal legislature capacity (rather than more direct measures of influence such as the impact of legislatures on government legislation), opposition parties do not enjoy significant influence in the Scottish Parliament. Thus, this is not as useful a prediction as it first appeared.

Instead, in some ways the more useful explanation of minority status is the very existence of moderate pluralism caused by the electoral system, combined with party decisions based on their previous experiences. Perhaps we can say that the Liberal Democrats anticipated that Strom’s prediction would be realised; that opposition parties would become more influential under minority conditions. If this imbalance of power is now known (and wasn’t in 2007 when the parties had only experienced coalitions), it may affect the strategies of parties in 2011, with the SNP and Labour perhaps more likely to seek minority but the Liberal Democrats more likely to seek coalition (the Conservatives will generally struggle to find a partner in Scotland – more so than in Wales – and so may act accordingly) when they reflect on their lack of influence in opposition (and that, although the 2007 election had a profound effect on small parties and the balance of power between SNP and Labour, its Scottish Parliament results are fairly consistent). Yet, we cannot be certain until more research is conducted to determine MSP perceptions of success, since most opposition parties often seem content with their limited involvement in the details of policy. This may be because it increases their ability to step back and criticise it to increase their own standing. It may also reflect the longer term parliamentary culture, in which the government governs and the opposition scrutinises, that did not disappear when coalition government ceased.

In any event, universal theories of minority government only take us so far and this reinforces the need to supplement them with detailed case studies of individual countries and comparisons with others. For example, as Mitchell (2008: 81) suggests, there are lessons to be learned from the Danish case. While minority government has been the post-war norm, it can be usefully divided into before and after the ‘earthquake’ election in 1973 which not only granted new representation to three parties and re-established two more, but also produced a fragmented and polarised party system (Green-Pedersen, 2001: 57-8), characterised by ‘intense electoral competition and policy dispersion among multiple dimensions’ (Strøm, 1990: 107). Attempts to form a majority coalition from the non-socialist parties failed, allowing the Danish Social Democrats the chance to form a minority government. This proved ineffective in the short-term because the Social Democrats were the big losers of the 1973 election and did not adapt well to the need for the increased scale of concessions required to make effective agreements with other parties. Minority government via the non-socialist bloc in 1980s also fared badly at times, in part because its economic policies were opposed by the Social Democrats and, effectively, there were no other parties to negotiate with (Green-Pedersen, 2001: 59). However, from 1994 (following a year of majority coalition government), the Social Democrats began a period of successful coalition minority government, because: (a) it had adjusted to its new role; and (b) it could now negotiate with three different parties to produce different policies, who (c) had more incentive to cooperate than bring the government down (because the alternative for left-wing parties was non-socialist minority government); and (d) could engage in cooperation without undermining their electoral profile (2001: 64-5). Most parties have recognised that minority government is still the long-term norm and have adapted accordingly: the ruling minority by making concessions to many parties, and formerly extreme parties adapting to their new policy-influencing rather than oppositional roles. The post-1973 rejection of the norm that a government that loses a vote in parliament must resign has also aided minority stability (Seyd, 2002: 128).

While this adaptation took over twenty years to materialise in Denmark, a country with a long tradition of minority government, there are several reasons to think it could happen quicker in Scotland. First, in contrast to the polarisation of parties in Denmark, the Scottish party system is better characterised as a form of moderate pluralism (Bennie and Clark, 2003). There are no far right parties, while the far-left Scottish Socialist Party has never enjoyed enough representation to sway a parliamentary vote. In other words, there is no need (at least yet) for a minority government to make concessions to a wide range of disparate parties. Second, there may be fewer fundamental issues to polarise party opinion. Although the issue of independence sets the SNP apart from the three other major parties, the sub-national Scottish Parliament is not responsible for the big economic questions (fiscal and monetary policy; redistribution and benefits), or many other big issues that could produce significant conflict (such as defence policy). Third, the biggest loser, Labour, has had time to prepare and adjust to its new position through eight years of coalition majority government. Although it has yet to find a clear role in opposition (in part because of its complex ties to a UK Labour government), it appears more open to the prospect of its own period of minority government (particularly if Labour loses the UK election in 2010). Finally, the Conservatives (with no real prospect of forming a government) and, to a lesser extent, the Liberal Democrats (keen to ‘rediscover themselves’) appear increasingly comfortable with the idea of influence in opposition. In short, minority government could quickly become the norm in Scottish politics and Scottish parties could adapt relatively easily (particularly if compared to the UK).

On the other hand, Strøm (1990: 106) relates the durability of minority government in Denmark to a process in which the government makes a series of policy-specific and significant legislative concessions to various parties in exchange for their support (see also Qvortrup, 2000 who links this ‘search for consensus’ to the ability of the Folketing to refer a bill to referendum if the move receive supports from one-third of its membership). While we can see some evidence of this process in Scotland during the annual budget, the amount of negotiation appears to be low and it is not replicated across the board. Rather, the opposition parties wait for government legislation to appear and then engage in the same kind of scrutiny performed from 1999-2007. There is little evidence of pre-legislative negotiation or scrutiny. In these terms, it is difficult to see Scotland emulating Denmark’s propensity for minority government if its parties (and the Liberal Democrats in particular – see Paun, 2009: 54) seek policy influence as well as electoral success.

New politics is in some senses a heavy chain around the neck of Scottish politics, producing unrealistic expectations and therefore skewed evaluations of the success of new political practices. In the absence of such expectations, this paper may have come to different conclusions about the first eight years of coalition government which provided some examples of new parliamentary influence, the ability of committees to be ‘businesslike’ and the ability of Scottish Executive ministers to negotiate and compromise rather than dominate Parliament. Similarly, we should be careful not to judge the early experience of minority government too harshly. Although ‘new politics’ as originally envisaged has not materialised (again), the arrangements have so far proved to be relatively stable, while the SNP has demonstrated an impressive degree of policy coherence and governing competence. Minority government is likely to last for at least the full parliamentary term, while there is a significant chance that it may become the norm. Many teething troubles have healed – and maybe this is what stable minority government really looks like. The main caveat is that the first two years were marked by high SNP popularity, suggesting that it would not currently be in the interests of the opposition parties to destabilise minority government. It is therefore difficult to attribute the new system to a powerful new norm when an explanation based on party self-interest is just as convincing.

Equally unclear is the effect that minority government has on public policy. Eight years of coalition government largely produced a policy agenda driven by the government. Two years of minority government has produced a new relationship between the Scottish Government and Parliament, but this is not based on the eagerness on either side to mark a profound shift in responsibility for policy formulation and implementation. The drop in legislative activity from the Scottish Government has not been met with an equivalent rise from Parliament. Committees have not produced more agenda setting inquiries. Rather, the Parliament has become a forum for limited policy concessions based largely on the (usually uncontroversial) Government legislative agenda and the limited ability of the opposition parties to monitor Government policy activity that is not brought to parliament for regular approval. We may find evidence of parliamentary power in other areas – such as in the anticipated reactions of the SNP when deciding which bills to pursue and when civil servants developing policy pay heed to what they perceive to be the parliament’s (as well as the minister’s) ‘mind’. However, this is an area of public policy that has not been researched in great depth either in Scotland or in the comparative literature (instead, the focus is on negotiation between parties). From the limited evidence that we have, it is difficult to identify enough policy influence for opposition parties to give them an incentive to eschew public office when it is available. This is not really an issue for the Conservatives who are not likely to be offered the chance to form a government and will therefore benefit more from minority government. However, the lack of policy influence enjoyed by the Liberal Democrats since 2007 seems to diminish the probability that it will accept minority government in the future.

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Scottish Devolution Moniting Report September 2009

Paul Cairney reveals the findings of the September 2009 Scotland Devolution Monitoring Report which covers events from May to September. For the full report see or email

In the introduction, Paul Cairney reports that this is a period dominated by Kenny MacAskill’s decision to release the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, from Greenock Prison on compassionate grounds. Indeed, it is difficult to think of any other ‘Scottish’ issue that would command such international attention or prompt so much analysis on the SNP’s governing competence on the world stage. The issue is multi-faceted and still unfolding in the public domain. As such, we have witnessed a classic media process in which attention lurches from one aspect of the story to another: how MacAskill conducted his inquiry; if he would struggle to meet the deadline for a decision; whether or not al-Megrahi would drop his appeal; the extent to which MacAskill would be subject and vulnerable to a wide range of political pressure; how this relates to wider forms of parliamentary political pressure on MacAskill following the recent prospect of a vote of no confidence in Parliament; the Scottish-UK intergovernmental issue (or lack thereof) and the degree of Scottish ministerial autonomy; the silence of Gordon Brown; the (un)popularity of the decision; Al-Megrahi’s welcoming reception in Libya; and, the intense international reaction.

Lockerbie has overshadowed the other main issue in this period: the publication of the Calman report. In The Scottish Constitutional Debate, Paul Cairney argues that, given its limited remit and the tone of its interim report, the final report of the Calman Commission is surprisingly ambitious. Its recommendations on finance, the further devolution of powers, intergovernmental relations and the role of the Scottish Parliament are substantive, providing the potential for further changes in the future. Most significant is the proposal to make the Scottish Parliament more accountable for income taxation (although it produces a half-way house between fiscal dependence and autonomy). Much of the report is consistent with SNP aims. This includes the call for more formal intergovernmental relations and to devolve responsibility for Scottish Parliament elections, airgun and drink-driving regulations. While it was received well by its main audience (the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties), no party has made any firm commitment to implement its recommendations. Indeed, the irony is that the party most critical of the report (the SNP) is also the keenest to see some of it implemented immediately. While the National Conversation has been relatively low key in comparison, the Scottish Government has reaffirmed its commitment to an independence referendum bill. Cairney also discusses the House of Lords Select Committee on the Barnett Formula which has recommended Barnett’s abolition.

In Public Attitudes and Elections, John Curtice reports that there has been no marked movement in favour of independence. In fact, some recent polls record a significant decline. However, there is majority support for a referendum on constitutional change (including the implementation of Calman’s recommendations). Although the SNP’s wording would increase the ‘yes’ vote in a yes/no independence referendum, there is still not enough support. Indeed, people still do not think that independence is likely in the next twenty years. The most popular choice in a multi-option referendum would be ‘devolution with some tax powers’. Curtice then discusses evaluations of devolution. While many more people think devolution has had a positive rather than a negative impact, most believe it has made no difference. Since the election of the SNP, more people think that they are better represented in the Union and receive a fair share of UK spending. This may be ironic for a party seeking to foster a strong sense of grievance that might provide the basis of increased support for independence. Devolution also continues not to have any long-term impact on national identity. Finally, Curtice discusses the fortunes of parties and their leaders. Although the release of al-Megrahi was unpopular, it has created fewer difficulties for the SNP than some opposition politicians anticipated. The SNP still enjoys a lead over Labour in voting intentions for the Scottish Parliament (while the Greens may again emerge as an electoral force in 2011). There is also some prospect of significant SNP gains in Westminster in 2010 (and little sign that the Conservatives are making the gains we see in England). Labour’s showing in the European Parliament elections was disastrous and its vote was down from 2007 in local government by-elections. In contrast, the SNP’s share of the vote increased in both. Alex Salmond is still the most popular leader in Scotland and more popular than Gordon Brown and David Cameron

In The Scottish Parliament and Parties, Paul Cairney reports on a range of developments: the Scottish Parliament was only permitted to debate the release of al-Megrahi after the decision was made; Alex Salmond has again been cleared of misleading the Scottish Parliament; the draft annual budget has been published and although there are many likely flashpoints, previous experience of the budget crisis may reduce conflict this year; most of the major parties have struggled to maintain an image of unity during their party conferences and in the lead up to by-elections; few motions in the Scottish Parliament have put pressure on SNP policy; and, the Westminster expenses scandal continues to cast a shadow over Holyrood. Cairney also argues that Scottish Parliament committees are still not the ‘motor of a new politics’. They favour headline-grabbing short inquires over high-impact long term inquiries. One of the notable exceptions is the agenda on parliamentary scrutiny of the annual budget. Further, the number of Scottish Government bills has risen to 15, but many are short and only 6 can be traced directly and meaningfully to the SNP manifesto.

In Scottish Government and Public Policy, Cairney reports that: the neutrality and conduct of senior Scottish Government civil servants has come under considerable opposition party scrutiny; the agendas on public spending and expenses have focused attention to the size and cost of the Scottish public sector; there is still a clear difference in the UK and Scottish Government approaches to target setting for the public sector; the recession (and Diageo affair) has further exposed the limited levers the Scottish Government enjoys over the economy; the swine flu pandemic has exposed intergovernmental disagreement over treatment funding; the Scottish Government continues to build on tobacco controls and further the agenda on alcohol regulation; the parties continue to disagree over short term sentencing and progress made on police numbers, but have worked well together on sexual offences legislation; the SNP seems at its most vulnerable when defending its record on education; blame-avoidance may be more likely than earlier intervention in social work cases; the Climate Change Act introduces new targets to reduce emissions; Scottish crofting policy remains unresolved; new council housing may not be enough to address bigger problems of affordable and social rented housing; and, the new ‘Scottish Six’ may come from the STV, not the BBC

Finally, in Government Beyond the Centre, David Scott reports that, while relations between Scotland councils and the Scottish Government continue to be positive there is unease over policies like classroom sizes. He then considers key proposals published on affordable housing and the concern over the availability of sufficient funding, the Bill on local government elections that will allow the poll to be held on a separate day from Scottish Parliament elections and Scottish Government pilot plans for the first direct elections to health boards. Audit Scotland has published reports on public sector purchasing and asset management as well as Best Value audit reports on individual councils; and a Bill on public service reform aims to reduce the number of public bodies by eight and simplify the structure of the public sector.

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The Scottish Constitutional Debate September 2009

This is chapter 1 of the Scottish Devolution Monitoring Report September 2009, but with added references at the end. For the full reports see

Key Points

  • Given its limited remit and the tone of its interim report, the final report of the Calman Commission is surprisingly ambitious.
  • Its recommendations on finance, the further devolution of powers, intergovernmental relations and the role of the Scottish Parliament are substantive, providing the potential for further changes in the future.
  • Most significant is the proposal to make the Scottish Parliament more accountable for income taxation
  • Much of the report is consistent with SNP aims. This includes the call for more formal intergovernmental relations and to devolve responsibility for Scottish Parliament elections, airgun and drink-driving regulations
  • While it was received well by its main audience (the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties), no party has made any firm commitment to implement its recommendations.
  • Indeed, the irony is that the party most critical of the report (the SNP) is also the keenest to see some of it implemented immediately.
  • While the National Conversation has been relatively low key, the Scottish Government has reaffirmed its commitment to an independence referendum bill
  • The House of Lords Select Committee on the Barnett Formula has recommended Barnett’s abolition

1.1 The Calman Report’s Recommendations[1]
The Calman Commission’s final report was published on June 15th. While most headlines will be reserved for its substantial recommendations on fiscal accountability and the further devolution of powers, there are also some interesting recommendations to improve intergovernmental relations (IGR) and the legislative process of the Scottish Parliament. The main thrust of the report is that the constitutional side of devolution has been a success but that change can improve the settlement. Of course, the proposed level of change falls short of any prospect for independence because the report was established by the SNP’s opposition parties – Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat – and the UK Government to provide competition for the National Conversation.

Fiscal Autonomy
The most significant change can be found in its recommendations regarding the funding settlement. It argues that it would be difficult to maintain the Union if the UK Government granted full fiscal autonomy to Scotland. Therefore, macro-economic policy must remain reserved. While this is a defendable unionist position, it presents considerable problems when formulating further fiscal powers. The report also notes the limitations that it faces when making recommendations on the Barnett formula. Overall, we have a half-way house between fiscal dependence and autonomy (supplemented by its argument there should also be a common sense of social citizenship and minimum welfare rights, but only when the UK and Scottish Parliaments agree their scope). Barnett has the advantage of providing stability during devolution’s first decade and should be maintained, but only until the UK Government commissions a needs assessment to determine a more equitable system of funding. There should also be more accountability for money spent in Scotland. Therefore, there should be a devolution of certain economic powers – the Stamp Duty on property transactions, the Aggregates Levy, Landfill Tax and the Air Passenger Duty – when differences would not undermine overall macroeconomic policy (in part because they largely affect local populations, with relatively little prospect of exit).

More importantly, the Scottish Parliament should be obliged to make a positive and more visible decision about its level of taxation in relation to the UK rather than benefiting from the relatively hidden status quo position in which it accepts the same levels by not using the tartan tax. Calman therefore recommends reducing UK income tax in Scotland by 10p in the pound (for the lower and higher income tax thresholds, with no ability to tax one but not the other) and reducing Scotland’s grant accordingly, meaning that the Scottish Parliament would have to set the Scottish rate at 10p to stay the same as the UK (assuming that this would raise the same amount from a Scottish base). However, the Scottish Government would not be able to make the bigger decisions about the mix of tax bands or the overall structure of taxes set at the UK level. Therefore, this is effectively the introduction of a greater appearance of accountability but primarily for assigned revenues (this is to be extended to a notional share of income tax on savings, to remove the administrative burden of identifying Scottish savers). There is also not a full link between accountability and economic policy in part because there is still a limited incentive for the Scottish Government to increase its own tax revenue by using economic levers to foster growth. There is a limited ability to compete to attract businesses or individuals through the modification of taxes. Overall, the measures may open up the old north/ south debate on UK macro-economic policy. While Scotland’s GDP per capita is higher than most English regions, it is significantly lower than the south-east of England which brings overall English GDP per capita to a level higher than in Scotland. Therefore, the 10p tax rate in Scotland is likely to produce a slightly smaller overall level of revenue, perhaps prompting the Scottish Government to wonder why it should be accountable for the tax when it can not determine the amount fully.

On the other hand, the recommendations may mark the beginnings of a substantive shift in fiscal arrangements since the 10p would be based on identified rather than notional Scottish incomes and, for the first time, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (the HMRC) would be obliged to work on behalf of Scottish ministers in collecting devolved taxes (Scottish Ministers would also be consulted on appointments of HMRC Commissioners). This comes on top of three further recommendations:

1. To keep benefits such as housing/ council tax reserved but give much more scope for Scottish Ministers to amend their use when developing their own policies. This may be seen as an argument that the UK government should not only not interfere in issues such as the local income tax, but also that the UK Government and HMRC should do all they can to minimise the unintended consequences by cooperating on the effects on benefits (although note its very clear recommendation to keep Attendance Allowance reserved as a gateway to other reserved entitlements).
2. To allow the Scottish Government, like local authorities, to borrow on a Prudential basis (i.e. based on its capacity to repay debt) through the National Loans Fund or Public Works Loans Board. This system would perhaps allow the Scottish Government to fund the Forth Road Bridge in a more straightforward way.
3. To consider further tax devolution – on VAT and a share of fuel duty – when these recommendations have ‘bedded in’. This suggests that, again, the recommendations do not mark the end of the Scottish ‘settlement’.

Devolved and Reserved Powers
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the report’s recommendations on devolved powers is that it has not avoided issues that could be embarrassing to its UK Government sponsor and advantageous to the SNP Government’s agenda. This includes a recommendation to devolve responsibility of the Scottish Parliament elections to the Scottish Parliament (following SNP criticism of the role of the Secretary of State in the ballot paper fiasco), allow Scottish ministers to appoint the Scottish member of the BBC Trust (although this falls far short of SNP calls for Scottish-specific broadcasting), devolve airgun regulation (an SNP demand which it partly inherited from the previous Scottish Executive) and drink-driving limits (in the context of SNP criticism of UK limits when promoting its overall, divergent, alcohol strategy). It also recommends devolving responsibility for the national speed limits, animal health funding, marine nature conservation (note that the issue of marine control has divided the UK and Scottish governments for some time), the Deprived Areas fund, discretionary elements of the reformed Social Fund and the prescribing of controlled drugs (e.g. heroin) to treat addiction (perhaps signalling, incidentally, a position on the balance between the medical and criminal treatment of illegal drug use).

The report recommends that many issues – such as charity law and regulation, food labelling and regulation, the regulation of all health professions and the UK Insolvency service – should remain reserved to preserve sensible administrative arrangements and levels of policy uniformity. In other cases it merely calls for better working arrangements to solve problems associated with devolved and reserved policy interaction or problems associated with the implementation of reserved issues in Scotland, including: the operation of the Health and Safety Executive; the scope for local variations in immigration law implementation; the issue of the wellbeing of children of asylum seekers; Welfare to work; and, the operation of Crown Estate. It strongly recommends that the UK Government maintains the principle of UK-wide Research Councils (which allow Scottish Universities to ‘punch above their weight’ and remain part of a wider pool of scientific funding) but also establish comparable ‘government-funded’ status for particular Scottish research institutions. Perhaps of most note is the absence of a recommendation to change the constitutional settlement regarding nuclear power. This may in part follow the UK Government’s acceptance of a Scottish veto on new nuclear power stations. It also follows a broader recommendation to accept that there will always be issues regarding devolved/ reserved boundaries and that they should be resolved through better intergovernmental relations.

Intergovernmental Relations
The report is critical of the informality of intergovernmental relations (IGR) between the Scottish and UK Governments and it makes recommendations for ministers, civil servants and the Parliaments. First, it argues that the Joint Ministerial Committee should become a body to foster close working and cooperation relationships (perhaps like the JMC Europe) rather than just dispute resolution. The JMC (Domestic) should meet at least annually, as should a new JMC Finance (to discuss macro-economic policy as well as taxation); and a JMCO (for senior officials). The JMC agendas should be published in advance to parliaments (and there should be an annual report). The JMC Europe should foster earlier and more engagement between Scotland and UK, with Scottish Ministers to be automatically part of UK delegation and to speak more on the agreed UK line. There should also be a greater expectation that Scottish MEPs attend Scottish Parliament committees. Second, it argues that there should be more training for UK civil servants to improve their knowledge of devolution and that the civil service code should be amended to ensure cooperation and mutual respect.

Third, although it suggests that the Sewel convention, in which Westminster will not normally legislate on devolved matter unless given permission by the Scottish Parliament, has been respected and works well, it must be used better to foster meaningful links between Parliaments (Sewel, or legislative consent, motions are primarily addressed through executives). The report makes a wide range of recommendations in this regard: the Sewel convention should be entrenched in standing orders of each House; there should be more parliamentary cooperation and discussion – perhaps by each passing motions for the other’s attention; Westminster should debate devolved implications and establish a regular ‘state of Scotland’ debate; a ‘standing joint liaison committee of the UK Parliament and Scottish Parliament should be established to oversee relations’; barriers to sharing information and inviting each other to committee meetings should be removed; the Secretary of State for Scotland should appear annually to a convenors’ (committee chairs’) group of the Scottish Parliament and in plenary to report on the devolved implications of the Queen’s speech; the First Minister should appear at Scottish Affairs Committee once per year generally and once per year to discuss how its legislation interacts with reserved matters; there should be Scottish MPs on any UK legislation that uses a substantive Sewel motion, followed by the potential for Scottish Parliament committees to invite the MPs to discuss their implications; and Scottish Parliament and Westminster committees should be given an answer on legislation as they would to their own committees. Further, Calman suggests that there should be a Westminster equivalent to the Sewel motion: ‘A new legislative procedure should be established to allow the Scottish Parliament to seek the consent of the UK Parliament to legislate in reserved areas where there is an interaction with the exercise of devolved powers’.

Scottish Parliament recommendations
Finally, Calman makes some recommendations to improve the scrutiny role of the Scottish Parliament. To deal with the lack of a second chamber and the relative finality of its stage 3 legislative process, it recommends giving the power to the Presiding Officer to refer novel, substantive amendments at stage 3 back to committee before bill is passed (to give MSPs and stakeholders chance to look at implications). Or, an amendment to proceed to stage 4 can be proposed by MSPs. It also recommends that committees seek to minimise their MSP turnover (although this is still largely the decision of the parties themselves) and that committees should be able to decide themselves when to create sub-committees to deal with scrutiny overload.

1.2 Reactions to the Calman Recommendations
In some respects the overall reaction to the Calman report has been odd. For example, the initial media reception was fairly warm, with many references to the report’s boldness.[2] Its immediate audience – the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties – was also enthusiastic, with Jim Murphy keen to be photographed accepting the report from Calman and both the UK Labour and Conservative parties intimating that the report would find its way into their general election manifestos in some form.[3] Yet, things have been quiet since, with both parties suggesting that they need more time to digest the report and that its recommendations come as an overall, coherent package that would be difficult to implement incrementally. Of course, the more honest statement would be that constitutional reform in Scotland is way down the list of priorities for a UK Government.[4] The lack of progress appears to have frustrated Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott who has ‘lost patience’ with his colleagues in the other parties.[5] It has also produced an ironic turn of events: the party most critical of the report (the SNP) is now the keenest to see some of it (not surprisingly, the section recommending more devolved powers) implemented immediately.[6]

1.3 The National Conversation
The National Conversation itself (i.e. not including moves to introduce a referendum bill – see 1.4) has been relatively low key in this period, with the most notable development regarding opposition party criticism of its costs. This may arise again during negotiations on the annual budget (see 3.3).

1.4 The Referendum on Independence
The Scottish Government outlined in September its plans for a bill to enable a referendum on independence (as part of its overall legislative programme)[7]. Of course, whether or not this bill will be passed by the Scottish Parliament is another matter. The probability of this event has never been clear and it is no clearer now. While the main opposition parties were very quick to announce that they would not support the bill, whispers continue about various members of various parties being keen to see it go ahead. The parties may also have blundered by placing so much criticism on a discussion of constitutional change during a recession, suggesting that they may be more open to the prospect after an economic recovery.

1.5 The Barnett Formula
Media attention to the Barnett formula was raised briefly during the summer following a Lord’s report.[8] The report criticises the fact that a short-term measure has been in place for so long, with no real attempt to adjust the baseline according to population or to allocate money at the margins with reference to need rather than automatically. It recommends a needs assessment exercise followed by a system that provides clarity on how territorial funds are distributed. While David Cameron has in the past expressed similar aims, and the Treasury is in the process of reviewing the system,[9] a major reform is by no means inevitable because both have much higher priorities. Indeed, if there is anything that demonstrates the extent to which Scottish funding is small beer to the Treasury, it is the news that the effect of the recession is to reduce its tax take by more than the Scottish Government’s annual budget.[10]

Further references not in the SDMR
P. Jones 5.6.09 ‘Calman Commission says no to devolution of North Sea oil revenues’ The Times
T. Murden and T. Peterkin 7.6.09 ‘Calman set to support Barnett Formula’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 6.6.09 ‘’Too late’ for Scotland to claim North Sea revenues’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 6.6.09 ‘’Give Scotland borrowing powers and oil revenues’’ The Herald
H. Macdonell 15.6.09 ‘SNP pledge to use new powers to ban airguns’ The Scotsman
B. Currie 15.6.09 ‘Major tax handover expected in Calman report’ The Herald
D. Maddox 12.6.09 ‘Calman’s Holyrood tax power plans ‘don’t go far enough’’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 11.6.09 ‘Holyrood in line to get new powers over tax’ The Scotsman
L. Davidson 14.6.09 ‘Voters are denied referendum on Calman proposals’ The Times
D. Maddox 16.6.09 ‘Calman’s bold proposals to empower Scotland’ The Scotsman
H. Macdonell 16.6.09 ‘Hamish Macdonell: Calman report a giant leap for Scots autonomy’ The Scotsman
J. Curtice 16.6.09 ‘Analysis: Offering an alternative to the ‘subsidy junkie’ jibe’ The Scotsman
16.6.09 ‘Steering group named to push Calman forward to next stage’ The Scotsman
16.6.09 ‘Making the parliament more effective’ The Scotsman
16.6.09 ‘Holyrood will have to foot bill for changes’ The Scotsman
16.6.09 ‘A More Perfect Union’ The Times
16.6.09 ‘Calman’s vision could bolster Holyrood and end English cash grievances’ A. Macleod 16.6.09 ‘The Calman Commission: the main recommendations’ The Times
A. Young 16.6.09 ‘Grant formula may be seen as weapon against Scots’ The Herald
R. Dinwoodie 16.6.09 ‘Should there be a referendum on flagship proposal?’ The Herald
16.6.09 ‘Lessons learned from abroad could keep Union intact’ The Herald
16.6.09 ‘Powers returned to Westminster’ The herald
B. Currie 15.6.09 ‘Major tax handover expected in Calman report’ The Herald
The Scottish Government 15.6.09 ‘Calman Commission’ The Scottish Government
D. Maddox 17.6.09 ‘Referendum challenge by SNP to choose independence or Calman’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 16.6.09 ‘Labour promises to deliver Calman reform in 10 months’ The Scotsman
17.6.09 ‘Salmond springs surprise by including Calman in his referendum plans’ The Times
H. Mcleish 16.6.09 ‘Calman report is Westminster’s golden chance to redefine devolution’ The Times
P. Jones 16.6.09 ‘Calman’s vision could bolster Holyrood and end English cash grievances’ The Times
A. Macleod 16.6.09 ‘Gordon Brown backs Calman’s ‘bold’ tax-raising proposals for Holyrood’ The Times
M. Wade 16.6.09 ‘’Holyrood has proved itself’: Calman Commission wins over Scots’ The Times
A. Macleod 16.6.09 ‘The Calman Commission: the main recommendations’ The Times
A. Macleod 16.6.09 ‘Calman: give Scotland power to set speed and drink-driving limits’ The Times
J. Allardyce 21.6.09 ‘Former Labour ministers condemn Calman report’ The Times
A. Black 22.6.09 ‘What has devolution done for us?’ BBC
18.6.09 ‘Change in devolution ‘must come’ ‘ BBC
R. Dinwoodie 24.6.09 ‘Outnumbered, not outgunned: Murphy holds his own with SNP’ The Herald
A. Macleod 23.6.09 ‘We hoped for a scrap, but the Murphy and Swinney show was pure comedy’ The Times
I. Swanson 24.6.09 ‘Ian Swanson: Ban on airguns finally looks to be in Holyrood’s sights’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 26.6.09 ‘SNP urges political rivals to back key Calman proposals’ The Scotsman
E. Barnes 28.6.09 ‘Cameron sounds nuclear warning’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 29.6.09 ‘Foulkes calls for swift action on Calman proposals’ The Scotsman
A. Macleod 28.6.09 ‘Tory split over Calman threatens to go nuclear’ The Times
A. Macleod 28.6.09 ‘Implement Calman proposals now, Salmond urges Brown’ the Times
M. Howie 6.7.09 ‘Fresh bid to take control of gun laws’ he Scotsman
D. Maddox 7.7.09’ Calman denies SNP claim that inquiry was ‘nobbled’’ he Scotsman
6.7.09 ‘MPs grill Calman over comission findings’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 8.7.09 ‘Gun law reforms in Scotland could provide model for UK’ he Herald
E. Barnes 30.7.09 ‘Calman accuses SNP of ‘misrepresentation’’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 10.8.09 ‘Calman’s tax ideas ‘would drag down Scottish economy’’ The Herald
A. Macleod 12.9.09 Cracks appear in unity over Calman reforms’ The Times
4.6.09 ‘SNP rejects Calman plan for future of devolution’ The Scotsman
16.6.09 ‘Brown urged to act quickly to extend Holyrood powers’ The Scotsman
J. Purvis 25.6.09 ‘Tax-raising powers will change parties’ ways of campaigning’ The Scotsman
T. Peterkin 5.7.09 ‘’Rich will run’ if new tax power brought in’ The Scotsman–
R. Dinwoodie 8.7.09 ‘Gun law reforms in Scotland could provide model for UK’ The Herald
15.6.09 ‘Calman Commission’ Scottish Government News Release
5.6.09 ‘Response to Calman Commission’ Scottish Government News Release
T. Peterkin 19.8.09 ‘Steel backs tax powers’ he Scotsman
D. Maddox 17.6.09 ‘Economists condemn proposed reforms as ‘recipe for instability’’ The Scotsman

6.7.09 ‘SNP defend cost of ‘Conversation’’ The Herald
A. Philp 6.7.09 ‘SNP blasted for spending £500,000 on National Conversation’ The Scotsman
N. Christian 19.7.09 ‘Conversation and Calman cost £1m’ The Scotsman
J. Robertson 19.7.09 ‘SNP slams £600,000 Calman consultation’ The Times
10.9.09 ‘’Conversation’ inquiry step’ The Scotsman–
R. Dinwoodie 17.6.09 ‘Eck’s blether on the future’ The Herald
S. MacDonald 5.7.09 ‘£450k cost of ‘talking shop’’ The Times
16.6.09 ‘National Conversation’ Scottish Government News Release
8.9.09 ‘National Conversation’ Scottish Government News Release
A. Macleod 9.9.09 ‘SNP plans to share diplomatic services under attack’ The Times
L. Cameron 21.9.09 ‘Salmond hits back at tycoon’s ‘Titanic’ comments’ The Scotsman

Independence bill
T. S. Robertson 31.8.09 ‘’Futile’ independence bill won’t stand a chance, vows opposition’ The Scotsman
31.8.09 ‘SNP to reveal timetable for independence referendum’ The Herald
L. Davidson 31.8.09 ‘Scottish referendum Bill heads for defeat as parties close ranks’ The Times
S. Johnson 30.8.09 ‘Alex Salmond to table independence referendum bill’ The Telegraph
29.8.09 ‘MSPs to debate independence bill’ BBC
31.8.09 ‘The big question’ The Herald
3.9.09 ‘Scottish independence: Salmond sets out plans for referendum’ The
9.9.09 ‘SNP’s paper on independence branded ‘unforgivable’ waste’ The Scotsman
J. Hjul 6.9.09 ‘Jenny Hjul: Treat SNP referendum talk with the ridicule it deserves’ The Times
A. Macleod 3.9.09 ‘Salmond to push ahead with referendum Bill’ The Times
A. Macleod 3.9.09 ‘Salmond to push ahead with referendum Bill’ The Times
A. Macleod 14.9.09 ‘Is Salmond serving up independence lite?’ The Times
R. Dinwoodie 17.6.09 ‘Salmond challenge on independence’ The herald
16.6.09 ‘Referendum ‘could look at powers’ BBC
28.9.09 ‘’Wrong time’ to hold referendum’ BBC
22.9.09 ‘Leader plays down talk on referendum’ The Scotsman
21.9.09 ‘Scottish independence referendum: Lib Dem leader Clegg says vote would be ‘wrong’’ The Scotsman
22.9.09 ‘Tavish Scott denies turnaround on Lib Dem independence referendum policy’ The Herald
3.9.09 ‘SNP outlines plans for referendum’ BBC
E. Barnes 23.9.09 ‘Lib Dems gag MSPs over independence referendum’ The Scotsman
G. peev 29.9.09 ‘Gray hints at policy U-turn with mention of referendum’ he Scotsman
A. Macleod 29.9.09 ‘Confusion as Gray hints at referendum’ The Times
T. Crichton 28.9.09 ‘Gray set to allow vote on SNP key mandate’ The Herald
G. Bowditch and S. MacDonald 27.9.09 ‘SNP denies Labour call for constitutional debate’ The Times
J. Allardyce 23.8.09 ‘Tory peer calls for independence poll’ he Times
L. Davidson 20.9.09 ‘SNP attacked over plan to lower voting age in independence poll’ The Times

17.7.09 ‘Lords call for an end to Barnett’ BBC News
23.5.09 ‘Barnett formula ‘lacks any logic’’ BBC News
17.7.09 ‘Lords call for an end to Barnett’ BBC News
S. Johnson 17.7.09 ‘’Unfair’ Barnett formula should be scrapped say Lords’ The Telegraph

M. Settle 1.7.09 ‘Watchdog warned ‘steer clear of reserved issues’’ The Herald
R. Lydall 13.7.09 ‘Second ‘dinner party summit’ suggested to discuss recession’ The Scotsman
R. Lydall 19.7.09 ‘Salmond with your meal? PM wants a second ‘dinner summit’’ The Scotsman
J. Allardyce and J. Robertson 30.8.09 ‘SNP makes nuclear subs a prime target’ The Times
16.9.09 ‘Salmond to ask Westminster for more cash to kickstart recovery’ The herald
S. McGinty 12.7.09 ‘SNP accused of ‘hissy fits’ over bombers’ trial’ The Scotsman
10.5.09 ‘MSPs ‘must respect’ Westminster’ BBC
M. Williams 4.7.09 ‘MSPs: Stop cheating our troops out of their R&R’ The Herald
C. Claire 5.7.09 ‘SNP demands change to stop military being ‘cheated’ out of holidays’ The Scotsman–
M. Settle 13.7.09 ‘Bombing ‘hissy fits’ by Salmond dismissed as nonsense’ The herald
J. Quinn 13.8.09 ‘Murphy fails to secure Scots visas for Pakistanis’ The Scotsman
M. Settle and M. Williams 8.9.09 ‘Cameron calls for 10% cut in number of Scots MPs’ The Herald
A. Macleod 8.9.09 ‘Civil servants accused of stoking conflict with UK’ The Times (big one)
P. Jones 21.6.09 ‘England and Scotland ‘must learn to talk’’ The Times
L. Davidson 12.7.09 ‘Salmond ‘exploited’ Glasgow Airport terror attack’ The Times
A. Massie 12.7.09 ‘Alan Massie: The SNP’s nuclear option is to have no defence at all ‘ The Times
D. Maddox 18.6.09 ‘Row erupts over £20bn North Sea oil cash shortfall claims’ The Scotsman
J. Quinn 22.6.09 ‘SNP to demand more powers from Scottish Secretary’ The Scotsman
22.6.09 ‘SNP to demand powers in Scottish Secretary talks’ The Herald
E. Barnes 21.6.09 ‘Costs at Scotland Office ‘out of control’’ The Scotsman
B. Currie 19.6.09 ‘North Sea oil revenue would ‘see Scotland in the black’ The Herald
R. Dinwoodie 29.6.09 ‘Salmond in clash with Cameron over Clyde Trident’ The Herald
S. Johnson 28.6.09 ‘David Cameron warns Alex Salmond not to obstruct new Trident’ The Telegraph
27.6.09 ‘Tories were ‘wrong’ on devolution’ BBC
D. Maddox 30.6.09 ‘General Sir Mike: Scotland safer in the UK than under independence’ The Scotsman
R. lydall 30.6.09 ‘SNP angry at Tory leader’s Trident vow’ The Scotsman

B. Currie 20.7.09 ‘Swinney’s Japan visit aims to bolster Scottish trade links’ The Herald
M. Macaskill 2.8.09 ‘Malawi journalist tells Scotland to keep cash’ The Times

[1] Commission on Scottish Devolution (2009) Serving Scotland Better: Scotland and the United Kingdom in the 21st Century

[2] G. Braiden 16.6.09 ‘Some reservations, but report widely praised’ The Herald; D. Maddox 16.6.09 ‘Critics confounded by radical reform plans’ The Scotsman
[3] A. Macleod and P. Jones 11.6.09 ‘Labour and Tories to back new tax-raising powers for Scotland’ The Times; A. Macleod 16.6.09 ‘Gordon Brown backs Calman’s ‘bold’ tax-raising proposals for Holyrood’ The Times
[4] A. Macleod 26.6.09 ‘Scottish Conservatives step back from Calman Commission findings’ The Times; J. Allardyce and J. Robertson 12.7.09 ‘No new powers for Scotland until 2015’ The Times
[5] D. Maddox 18.9.09 ‘Labour and Tories not pulling their weight on devolution – Scott’ The Scotsman
[6] A. Macleod 28.6.09 ‘Implement Calman proposals now, Salmond urges Brown’ The Times

[7] 3.9.09 ‘Programme for Scotland’ Scottish Government News Release
[8]House of Lords Select Committee on the Barnett Formula (2009) The Barnett Formula, HL Paper 139 (London: The Stationery Office)
[9] BBC News 10.9.09 ‘Funding rules ‘unfairness’ claim’
[10] T. Crichton 21.7.09 ‘Tax take falls by £32bn amid economic downturn’ The herald

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Scottish Government and Public Policy September 2009

This is chapter 4 of the Scottish Devolution Monitoring Report September 2009, but with added references at the end. For the full reports see

Key Points:

  • The neutrality and conduct of senior Scottish Government civil servants has come under considerable opposition party scrutiny
  • The agendas on public spending and expenses have focused attention to the size and cost of the Scottish public sector
  • There is still a clear difference in the UK and Scottish Government approaches to targetry
  • The recession (and Diageo affair) has further exposed the limited levers the Scottish Government enjoys over the economy
  • The swine flu pandemic has exposed intergovernmental disagreement over treatment funding
  • The Scottish Government continues to build on tobacco controls and further the agenda on alcohol regulation
  • The parties continue to disagree over short term sentencing and progress made on police numbers, but have worked well together on sexual offences legislation
  • The SNP seems at its most vulnerable when defending its record on education
  • Blame-avoidance may be more likely than earlier intervention in social work cases
  • The Climate Change Act introduces new targets to reduce emissions
  • Scottish crofting policy remains unresolved
  • New council housing may not be enough to address bigger problems of affordable and social rented housing
  • The new ‘Scottish Six’ may come from the STV, not the BBC

4.1 The Scottish Government
As the introduction to this report suggests, most attention to the Scottish Government in this period was focussed on the release of the Lockerbie bomber. More recently, opposition parties (and Scottish Labour in particular) have explored the chance to criticise the Scottish Government through its civil service. Permanent Secretary John Elvidge has come under particular scrutiny in this period. Elvidge has been on Labour’s radar for some time following his statement in 2007 suggesting that the Scottish civil service was effectively operating independently, his involvement in 2008 in debates between the Treasury and the Scottish Government about the adequacy of the Scottish budget and, in 2009, his involvement (criticised by the Public Audit Committee – see 3.7) in the governance of Transport Scotland.[1] In August, Labour complained about the tone of Elvidge’s article to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which suggested that the administrative reorganisation of the Scottish Government represented a marked improvement.[2] In September it pounced on the suggestion from a leaked Scottish Government minute that senior civil servants favoured using ‘conflict and confrontation’ as part of their overall strategy when dealing with UK Government departments.[3] It also alleges that Elvidge is taking the Scottish Government’s side over the latest factual debate with the UK Government on the adequacy of the Scottish Government’s budget[4] and on opposition party complaints that the SNP Government is using National Conversation events and holding cabinet meetings outside Edinburgh to further its by-election campaign.[5] Overall, there is some disquiet that neutral civil servants are supporting the biases of their political masters by, for example, articulating their priorities in relation to National Conversation aims. Yet, this is to present a skewed notion of the relationship between ministers and civil servants based on the unrealistic idea that the latter have some objective higher level of loyalty to the Crown. Rather, civil servants exist to implement the policies of the ministers they serve.

There has also been a miscellany of stories continuing long-term themes: companies can pay the SNP to be in the presence of Scottish Government ministers; ministers do not use enough green transport; and, in this age of austerity (and expenses scandals), the Scottish Government is not doing enough to cut extraneous hospitality and travel costs. More substantively, the prospect of a reduced budget has focused attention on the overall cost of the public sector – in terms of the overall numbers of staff employed, the salaries enjoyed by key executives and the perennial issue of number and cost of quangos. While the Scottish Government line is that the number of quangos in Scotland is falling (see 5.5), we will not have the full picture without examining the number of employees and their costs[6] or, more ambitiously, a measure of what they deliver at a certain cost.[7]

4.2 Public Sector Targets
The UK Government’s latest document on public sector reform was portrayed in The Telegraph as a U-turn on its previous commitment to stringent targets backed by strong central control.[8] As such, this would represent significant convergence with devolved government policies and policy styles. Yet, further inspection of this document suggests something else: that adherence to targets (particularly in the NHS) is so accepted in the UK public sector that the process no longer requires strong central direction. As such, they have become ‘guarantees’ that consumers of public services can count on (and complain about if they are not delivered). No such guarantees are provided by the Scottish Government’s targets (although NHS targets are still being met), providing opposition parties with easy headlines (rather than a more mature debate on the effectiveness of targets).[9]

4.3 The Economy
Although it annoyed the unions when Scottish Enterprise Minister Jim Mather said it, the Scottish economy may be less hard hit (in terms of unemployment and growth) than the UK average.[10] However, it also grows more slowly than the UK average and so may take longer to recover from recession. Usually this is not worrying because the UK average masks much higher activity in the south and south east of England and Scotland does well compared to the rest. However, there is now some suggestion that regions with large public sectors (like the devolved territories) are the least well equipped to grow.[11] Perhaps the more pressing problem for a devolved government is the lack of policy levers to influence economic development (including control over North Sea oil revenues[12]). For example, there is still no resolution to the funding of the Forth bridge (which effectively needs Treasury approval), while the Scottish Futures Trust still does not look like a realistic way to get round Treasury rules on borrowing for capital projects. The Scottish Government’s attempts to stop Diageo closing down key operations in Scotland proved unsuccessful[13] (while Whyte and MacKay cited alcohol policy reform as one reason for its decision to cut jobs in Scotland).[14] Following its deal with Scottish Labour in the last annual budget, one of its key levers is to fund and subsidise apprenticeships.[15] It also has the power to reform planning laws to aid building projects, relax the regulations on bankruptcy[16] and pay businesses promptly[17] and provides funding for employment-based training.[18] There have also been calls for colleges and universities to make a bigger contribution.[19] The recession has also highlighted another interesting connection between reserved and devolved issues, following UK Government measures to make sure that those with mental health problems retain their jobs.[20]

4.4 Healthcare and Public Health
The swine flu pandemic has raised an interesting issue regarding Scottish funding. While critical accounts of Scottish financial advantage suggest that the expense of initiatives such as free prescriptions (and the provision of expensive drugs often not provided by English health authorities) is met by the English taxpayer, recent developments suggest that the lack of equivalent policies for England allows the English NHS to maintain a relatively large surplus.[21] This has come in handy following calls by the Scottish Government for the Treasury to fund swine flu treatment as a national emergency. Instead, the Treasury has argued that the money should come from the NHS budget, knowing that this can be delivered in England.[22] If not for the swine flu, other issues such as C difficile (the Vale of Leven will now be subject to a public inquiry) and MRSA (a new screening process has been announced) may have received more attention. So too would drugs policy be higher on the agenda, particularly since there is still a battle of ideas taking place between critics of methadone treatments and harm reduction (including most notably the Scottish Conservatives) and those who recommend going further, to emulate pilots in England which prescribe heroin instead (the Scottish Government has announced that it will introduce a HEAT target on drugs in November[23]).[24] The battle of ideas is also raging in relation to the future of a free NHS.[25]

4.5 Cigarettes, Alcohol and Food
The BMA recently praised the Scottish Parliament as a forum to deliver innovative public health laws, citing the smoking ban as the most important policy in its ten years.[26] The ban has not only opened the door for further tobacco restrictions (the latest is a proposed ban on tobacco displays at point-of sale, while there are calls to criminalise the act of buying cigarettes for children[27]), but also other controls justified on public health grounds, such as the proposed (by an MSP) ban on trans fats[28] and the Scottish Government’s agenda on alcohol policy (backed by some damning evidence of alcohol use in Scotland).[29] The key development in this period is the introduction of new licensing regulations (based on the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 passed by the previous Scottish Executive) giving licensing boards a wider remit when considering the fitness of someone applying to hold a license to sell alcohol, and to review existing license holders (in part by clarifying the rights of individuals and organisations to complain about particular premises).[30] Some reports have suggested that the regulations will be used to support minimum pricing ‘by stealth’ because in theory licensing boards could argue that (say) buy-one-get-one-free offers in supermarkets promoted anti-social behaviour. Yet, this has been countered by the Glasgow Licensing Board which argues that the regulations are not strong enough.[31] In any case, the Scottish Government has already accepted the need for parliamentary support on minimum pricing[32] (and, ideally, some degree of support from the drinks industry).[33]

4.6 Justice
It now seems a very long time ago that Kenny MacAskill was coming under pressure regarding Brian Martin’s escape from an open prison (see also 3.2 – this was the subject of a complaint made about Alex Salmond).[34] The issue of short-term prison sentencing (‘one of the most bitterly contested issues since the SNP took power in 2007’[35]) is less likely to be short lived. MacAskill’s stance has been bolstered in this period by further complaints about prison overcrowding which undermines rehabilitation efforts and new statistics which suggest that reoffending rates among short-term prisoners is high (3 of 4 reoffend within 2 years) and the continued support of former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish.[36] However, opposition parties (and Scottish Labour in particular) continue to use his stance as a sign of weakness, particularly when linked to the issue of knife crime.[37] There is similar conflict over the issue of police numbers, with Labour suggesting that the Scottish Government’s success at meeting an interim target will be short lived given the financial crisis in the police force.[38] There is more consensus on the Scottish Government’s sexual offences bill (see 3.9), with signs that MSPs are engaging in the details and the Scottish Government is open to amendments.[39] See also 3.9 on the resolution to claims made regarding slopping out.

4.7 Education
The SNP seems at its most vulnerable when defending its record on education, particularly when issues such as the number of teachers in work, school class sizes, the curriculum for excellence, the condition of the school estate, free nursery care, student debt and the long-term financing of universities are on the agenda (see also 3.5).[40] However, in many cases there are understandable problems, such as the choice between training more teachers and making sure that existing trainees can find work and balancing two potentially contradictory policy aims – such as the aim to produce national policies on class sizes and the curriculum, but also to foster local government autonomy which will inevitably produce territorial variations. As 5.1 discusses, there is also some confusion about the primary purpose of the Scottish Government decision to reduce the legal maximum primary 1 class size from 30 to 25 to reduce the ability of parents to appeal to ‘close a legal loophole that has undermined the government’s policy on class sizes’ while giving local authorities some flexibility when trying to meet the target of 18.[41] Not surprisingly, the agenda on raising top-up fees in England has reignited calls for their introduction in Scotland.[42] As 3.5 suggests, this would be much more likely under a Labour-led Scottish Government.

4.8 Social Services and Social Work
The cases of Brandon Muir and Baby P have prompted calls for social workers to intervene more and take children into care quicker.[43] Yet, the main response may actually be what Hood et al call institutionalised ‘blame-avoidance’[44] as social work departments react to media and political criticism.[45] A report by the Care Commission suggests that only half of all care homes meet national standards on nutrition.[46] While the introduction of ‘free’ personal care for older people in Scotland was a flagship policy for the former Scottish Executive it was not a panacea. Thus, the UK Government’s Green Paper on the issue may reignite the agenda in Scotland.[47]

4.9 Energy, Transport and Environment
The biggest development in this period is the passing of the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 (see 3.9). Following some negotiation with the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government brought forward its interim target from 2030 to 2020 and increased the proposed reduction in emissions from 34% to 42%.[48] The Scottish Government also has also opened consultation on waste targets.[49] The debate over the Beauly to Denny line continues despite some (much criticised) attempts by MSPs to speed up the process.[50] The Scottish Government is still hopeful that the high speed rail link will reach Scotland and that Scotland’s road vehicles will be electric or low carbon within 10 years.[51] Civil servants in the UK and Scottish Governments have been accused of delaying renewable energy incentives and home lagging respectively.[52]

4.10 Agriculture, Fish, Food and Water
The Scottish Government has followed a long tradition in producing crofting policies not welcomed by crofters’ representatives (or not implementing existing policy).[53] It remains opposed to GM food.[54] The role of the EU continues to produce consternation – for example – the Common Fisheries Policy has come under further attack and sheep farmers are unhappy about electronic tagging.[55]

4.11 Housing and Homelessness
Although the SNP promise to build more council houses seemed like the end of an era (with more funding announced this year)[56], a bigger surprise would come from the implementation of Conservative promises to follow suit in England.[57] However, the numbers involved would struggle to make up for shortages in affordable and social rented housing allegedly caused by the right to buy, the rise in repossessions during the recession and the lack of funding available.[58] However, some progress has been made on homelessness targets.[59]

4.12 Culture and Media
The SNP has published its plans for broadcasting under an independent Scotland as part of its National Conversation.[60] More pressing is the funding and provision of broadcasting and newspaper services.[61] The longest running media issue since devolution took a new twist when STV announced it would run the ‘Scottish Six’.[62] Although the Homecoming appears to be a success, it seems that the SNP and its opposition can not agree on which parts of Scottish history they should celebrate.[63]


4.1 The Scottish Government

SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT COSTS (see also MP expense headlines)
J. Allardyce 28.6.09 ‘SNP ‘is touting ministers to business’’ The Times
J. Robertson 9.8.09 ‘Sky-high cost of ministers’ luxury travel’ The Times
22.8.09 ‘£100,000 bill for Salmond’s aides’ The Herald
I. Swanson 11.9.09 ‘Scottish Government attacked over £200k London office bill’ The Scotsman
J. Quinn 22.8.09 ‘One day with advisers cost £25k’ The Scotsman
S. Ross 29.8.09 ‘Ministers (including environment supremo) shun green trains for cars’ The Scotsman–
29.8.09 ‘Scottish ministers accused of failing to use train’ The Herald

P. Hutcheon 13.9.09 ‘Leaked emails show SNP minister’s anger with Salmond’ The Herald

28.6.09 ‘Ministers meet away from capital’ BBC News
24.6.09 ‘Summer Cabinet programme’ Scottish Government News Release

M. McKendry 5.7.09 ‘public sector staff swollen by 35% since devolution’ The Times
H. Macdonell 18.6.09 ‘Public sector up by 50,000 posts since devolution’ The Scotsman
5.7.09 ‘Audit Commission boss says public sector pay cuts is way out of recession ‘ The Telegraph
D. Maddox 30.6.09 ‘Council chiefs defend rise in £100k salaries’ The Scotsman
B. Currie 23.7.09 ‘Public sector still not making enough savings, says watchdog’ The Herald
23.7.09 ‘Call to spend wisely on services’ BBC News
D. Ross 19.8.09 ‘Gray attacks SNP on agency budgets’ The Herald
22.8.09 ‘Thousands of council staff face pay freeze until 2014 because of cuts to public spending’
24.8.09 ‘Pay freezes and industrial disputes beckon’ The Herald
24.8.09 ‘Public sector costs taxpayers £58bn a year, says think tank’ The Herald
22.8.09 ‘Thousands of council staff face pay freeze until 2014 because of cuts to public spending’ The Herald
K. Bussey 28.8.09 ‘Union warns of plan for five-year freeze on council pay’ The Scotsman
M. Howie 11.7.09 ‘Crime pays as prison governors paid Scottish work bonus’ The Scotsman
P. Hutcheon 31.8.09 ‘Angry MSPs urge public pay review over police chief’s perks’ The Herald
17.6.09 ‘Public sector reform’ Scottish Government News Release
16.9.09 ‘Public service reform slated’ The Scotsman
14.9.09 ‘Unprecedented job cuts fear as Scottish Government launches “effectiveness” review’ The Herald

R. Edward 10.7.09 ‘Experience lost in civil service shake-up’ The Scotsman
17.9.09 ‘Russell backs civil servants’ strategy’ The Scotsman

H. MacDonell 12.6.09 ‘ Scotland’s top civil servant ‘should quit’ over damning MSPs’ report’ The Scotsman–
A. Macleod 26.3.09 ‘Sir John Elvidge gets dressing down from Hugh Henry, Audit Committee convener’ The Times
A. Macleod 11.6.09 ‘Call for head of “obstructive” top civil servant’ The Times
D. Maddox 13.6.09 ‘Top civil servant gives up bonus … but pressure to resign fails to ease’ The Scotsman

QUANGOS (see 5.5 in the September 2009 Scottish Devolution Monitoring Report)
30.5.09 ‘Quango cuts ‘to save £40m’’ The Scotsman–
2.6.09 ‘Think-tank will assist struggling Scottish museums’ The Times
A. Macleod 8.6.09 ‘Swinney announces bonfire of the quango bonuses’ The Times
J. Belgutay 5.7.09 ‘Quango chiefs’ expenses revealed’ The Times
M. McLaughlin 18.6.09 ‘Housing Association chair claims review is politically influenced’ The Scotsman
18.7.09 ‘Three agencies, three years, £350m in consultancy fees’ The herald
J. Robertson 19.7.09 ‘Scots quangos ‘wasting millions’ on consultants’ The Times
M. Williams 1.8.09 ‘Holyrood moves to clean up rules on quangos’ the Herald
R. Dinwoodie 4.8.09 ‘Pressure group demands a ban on public bodies hiring lobbyists’ The Herald
D. Ross 20.8.09 ‘National parks cut board members’ he Herald
G. Braiden 27.8.09 ‘Dornan is surprise candidate for GHA board’ The Herald
L. Mcintosh 9.9.09 ‘National Trust for Scotland estates ‘becoming derelict’’ The Times
L. Mcintosh 10.9.09 ‘Standards at NTS will decline, admits chief executive’ The Times
J. Cunningham 25.9.09 ‘Reid to review troubled Trust in late bid to calm its critics’ The herald
R. Dinwoodie 6.8.09 ‘Delay in reform of water industry sparks row’ The Herald
B. Currie 19.8.09 ‘Former GHA vice-chairman claims he was forced to quit’ The Herald
J. Churcher 5.7.09 ‘Treasury examines the cost of quangos’ The Scotsman
J. kirkup 6.7.09 ‘Conservatives review each quango to see if it can be abolished’ The Telegraph
J. Crucher 6.7.09 ‘Cameron promises ‘bonfire of quangos’’ The Scotsman
M. White 6.7.09 ‘Culling the quangos (again)’ The Guardian
R. Lydall 7.7.09 ‘Cameron pledges a ‘bonfire of quangos’’ The Scotsman–

4.2 Public Sector Targets
P. Johnston 29.6.09 ‘The ultimate turnaround from Labour, the dying Government’ The Telegraph

Article puts it down as a big U-turn on targets, but I think it is a bit of a fudge – keeping NHS and education targets as ‘guarantees’ to be upheld by consumers plus old-fashioned targets on e.g. child poverty and emissions that are aspirations rather than punished if not met.

p18 (16 on pdf); 61; 62-3; 64; 65 “Across the public services, the next stage of reform will be characterised by moving from a system based primarily on targets and central direction to one where individuals have enforceable entitlements over the service they receive … As we extend clear service entitlements, so we will devolve greater responsibility and power to the front line, offer greater choice and control for users and continue to tackle robustly underperformance and failure wherever it occurs …. Once aspirational targets are now almost universally delivered, like the 18-week maximum waiting time from referral to treatment … We have achieved these improvements through a radical reform programme over the last 12 years. Initially this relied on a heavily top-down approach. Central government intervened to drive up quality and standards. Because we were impatient to drive through improvements in services, we relied on direct central government action – for example to tackle underperforming schools and to set targets for healthcare waiting times. But the progress made means we are now in a position to move decisively to the next phase of reform – empowering individuals and communities with clear entitlements and freeing up front-line professionals to be more responsive, innovative and personalised. Local and national government will remain key players in this new phase – setting out entitlements that are right for different public services and intervening swiftly to ensure they are delivered. But the key relationship in the next decade will not be between the government and the public service provider. It will be between the empowered individual service-user and the public service professional – with a strong, strategic role for government to ensure the system works in the best interests of all those who depend on our vital services … we have fostered innovation and flexibility in service provision by freeing up public service professionals, by increasing training and development and recruiting more of our country’s highest achievers into our key public services. There are now more opportunities for professionals to lead and personalise services, and new institutions – like Foundation Trusts in the NHS and Trust and Academy schools – have given local professionals significant autonomy to improve services. And we have reduced the number of targets for local authorities from over 1,000 performance indicators to just 35 agreed priorities in each area … once aspirational targets will become the guarantees for all patients. For example, the right to be seen by a cancer specialist in under two weeks. And we will establish robust redress mechanisms so that where patients fail to receive their entitlements, they and their advocates will be equipped to act – getting access to alternative services … By establishing self-policing systems of rights and entitlements, the users of services can be empowered to ensure minimum standards are achieved, and the role of government can be further streamlined, and any unnecessary bureaucracy removed, for example, reducing the focus of Strategic Health Authorities in the NHS on the performance management of targets … p76 To ensure that officers are freed up to deliver the highest service, we have scrapped all the central targets for the police except one: building public confidence … p77 we move from a system based on targets and central direction, to one where individuals and communities have enforceable entitlements over the service they receive, with clear redress mechanisms when those entitlements are not delivered. World class public services should be a guarantee, not a gamble. So we will build on the introduction of neighbourhood policing, the Policing Pledge, the ‘Engaging Communities in Justice’ Green Paper, and the ‘Justice Seen Justice Done’ campaign to set out clearly the full range of what people can expect from their local police and justice system … p82 We are not setting a specific target for the reduction of immigration: we believe that a flexible system is better for British business and the British economy. But in tough economic times it is right to be more selective about the skill levels of migrants, and to do more to put British workers first. So this year we have tightened up the system … p83 We continue to remove increasing numbers of foreign criminals – exceeding our targets of 4000 in 2007 and 5000 in 2008, with a target of 5800 in 2009 … p103 Over the last year, working with partners in the EU, we have put in place the essential building blocks towards this goal. The EU has committed to reduce European emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, or 30 per cent as part of a strong global agreement. In December Britain played an instrumental role in passing the historic ‘2020 package’ of EU measures to implement that commitment, including a strengthening of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, a 20 per cent target for renewable energy, a 20 per cent improvement in energy efficiency by 2020, and a new financial support mechanism for carbon capture and storage technology, alongside radical new emissions standards for cars … p112Enshrining in law the Government’s commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020;
• Defining success in eradicating child poverty based on four targets that aim to:
– reduce the proportion of children who are poor compared to the rest of society;
– ensure that no child experiences poverty for long periods of time. Families can often cope with a temporary period when their incomes fall, but research shows that long periods of poverty have a damaging effect on a child’s life chances;
– measure whether the poorest families see their real incomes increase over time to ensure that no family lives in absolute poverty; and
– improve living standards to ensure that all families are able to afford the necessities that others may take for granted, such as adequate housing or a space to play or study.

P121 (119 on pdf) Key Deliverables 2011 to 2020
These dates are indicative only

2011 • No child goes to a school where fewer than 30 per cent of students achieve five
good GCSEs or where a rigorous plan to meet that target is not in place


26.5.09 ‘NHS hits waiting time targets for patient scans’ The Scotsman
25.8.09 ‘NHS exceeds waiting time targets’ Scottish Government News Release

4.3 The Economy
P. Jones 19.6.09 ‘GERS report shows Scots economy was £219m in surplus for 2007-2008’ The Times
P. Jones 24.6.09 ‘’No turning point in sight for Scottish economy’’ The Times
4.6.09 ‘Swinney rebuts economist’s claim that taxation raised in Scotland is declining’ The Scotsman
J. McLaren 23.7.09 ‘Analysis: Negative trends cause concern as ministers plan for future’ The Scotsman
S. MacDonald 2.8.09 ‘Scotland holds out in the slump’ The Times
I. Mcconnell 16.9.09 ‘Scotland’s economy on track to exit recession by year-end’ The Herald
15.9.09 ‘Businesses ‘head for turnaround’’ BBC

A. Macleod and P. Jones 18.6.09 ‘Scots unemployment figures show big increase as 200 chase every job’ The Times
A. Macleod 5.7.09 ‘Scottish downturn’ will peak at 230,000 jobs lost’’ The Times
16.7.09 ‘Bill Jamieson: True figures of unemployment are masked by numbers in government sponsored programmes’ The Scotsman
G. Peev and M. Flanagan 8.8.09 ‘Scotland will escape worst of job cuts at RBS, says boss’ The Scotsman
T. Peterkin 21.8.09 ‘Good news at last: 1,300 new jobs’ The Scotsman

M. Wardrop 16.7.09 ‘Sir Gus O’Donnell warns of spending cuts to raise funds for government projects’ The Telegraph
T. Peterkin 19.7.09 ‘Fury as the Treasury rejects budget increase’ The Scotsman
T. Peterkin 22.7.09 ‘15-year MoD deal to secure thousands of shipyard jobs’ The Scotsman
15.9.09 ‘Prime Minister: We will make cuts’ The Herald

If there is one headline that shows that Scotland is small beer to the Treasury it is the one showing that the effect of the recession is to reduce its tax take by more than the Scottish Government’s annual budget.
T. Crichton 21.7.09 ‘Tax take falls by £32bn amid economic downturn’ The herald
G. Peev 21.8.09 ‘Britain owes £801,000,000,000’ The Scotsman
L. Davidson 22.7.09 ‘BVT shipbuilders secures £230m deal with MoD for next 15 years’ The Times

S. Macnab 31.7.09 ‘Westminster waste claim as Swinney steps up call for oil fund’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 31.7.09 ‘It is not too late for a Scottish oil wealth fund, says Swinney’ The Herald
27.7.09 ‘Swinney puts oil fund case’ The Herald
S. Johnson 28.9.09 ‘North Sea oil gave Scotland ‘massive’ budget surplus, say Government records’ The Telegraph
30.7.09 ‘An oil fund for Scotland’ Scottish Government News Release

1.6.09 ‘Swinney on defensive as councils rubbish Scottish Futures Trust’ The Scotsman
T. Peterkin 7.6.09 ‘SFT will not be able to fund new schools any time soon: Swinney’ The Scotsman
B. Currie 17.6.09 ‘Trust unlikely to cut costs, report finds’ The Herald
H. Macdonell 17.6.09 ‘A matter of Trust as plan to get rid of PPP backfires on government’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 11.6.09 ‘Flagship quango runs up £4.5m bill ‘doing nothing’’ The Scotsman
16.9.09 ‘Capital funding acceleration’ Scottish Government News Release
BBC News 1.7.09 ‘Treasury ‘manipulating’ PFI books’

8.6.09 ‘Call to revive first plan for Forth bridge’ The Herald
H. Macdonell 29.5.09 ‘Tories may back SNP bridge cash proposal’ The Scotsman
A. Macloed 10.8.09 ‘UK and Scottish Governments clash over funding for Forth crossing’ The Times
10.8.09 ‘Treasury refuses to bend on Forth bridge’s £2bn funding’ The Herald
A. Macleod 10.8.09 ‘UK and Scottish Governments clash over funding for Forth crossing’ The Times
B. Padley 15.7.09 ‘New Forth crossing a bridge too far for English MP’ The Scotsman
15.7.09 ‘MPs urged to reject Forth bridge demand’ The Herald
D. Maddox 23.9.09 ‘Twin bids to delay new Forth bridge voted down’ The Scotsman

T. Peterkin 15.7.09 ‘Diageo must listen to the ‘voice of Scotland’ over job cuts, says Swinney’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 3.7.09 ‘War of blame over whisky jobs’ The Scotsman
2.7.09 ‘Salmond urges whisky giant to reconsider plans to close distillery’ The Scotsman
A. Macleod 3.7.09 ‘Alex Salmond accused of failing Johnnie Walker bottling plant workers’ The Times
A. Macleod 8.7.09 ‘Salmond ‘snubs’ Diageo talks for TV politics show’ The Times
A. Macleod 8.7.09 ‘Salmond ‘snubs’ Diageo talks for TV politics show’ The Times
S. Johnson 16.7.09 ‘Alex Salmond to join demonstration against Diageo cuts’ The Telegraph
L. Davidson 15.7.09 ‘Salmond to march against Diageo cuts’ The Times
B. Currie 17.7.09 ‘Swinney to make ‘every effort’ to save Diageo jobs’ The Herald
T. Peterkin 30.7.09 ‘Salmond’s ‘provocative’ approach to Diageo cuts slated by business chiefs’ The Scotsman–
D. Maddox 21.7.09 ‘MPs demand talks over Tennent’s ‘sale’’ The Scotsman
G. Peev 23.7.09 ‘Taxpayers may foot the bill to rescue Scottish drink jobs’ The Scotsman
L. Davidson 23.7.09 ‘Diageo ‘to consider’ alternative jobs plan, says Alex Salmond’ The Times
A. Philip 19.8.09 ‘Swinney to lead summit on future of 900 Scottish whisky jobs’ The Scotsman
T. Peterkin 26.8.09 ‘New masterplan in bid to prove Johnnie Walker jobs viable’ The Scotsman–
B. Currie 9.9.09 ‘Humiliation as Diageo dismisses taskforce rescue plan’ The Herald
C. Churchill and H. Mcardle 10.9.09 ‘Diageo rejection ‘rips the heart and soul out of our community’’ The Herald
A. Macleod and P. Jones 10.9.09 ‘Salmond’s role questioned as Diageo rejects jobs pleas’ The Times
A. Macleod 11.9.09 ‘Salmond defiant as he accuses Diageo of abandoning workers’ THE Times
9.9.09 ‘Diageo rejects taskforce proposals’ Scottish Government News Release

B. Currie 30.7.09 ‘Scotland ‘getting a raw deal’ under job creation scheme’ The herald
E. Barnes 30.7.09 ‘Neet solution? Youngsters to get £6,500 for six-month council jobs’ The Scotsman
J. Swaine and R. Vaughan 7.8.09 ‘Senior civil servant attacks ‘profoundly shocking’ failure on neets’ The Telegraph
18.8.09 ‘Plans unveiled to fund 600 apprentices’ The Herald
14.6.09 ‘Apprenticeships in hospitality’ Scottish Government News Release
10.6.09 ‘Adopt an Apprentice’ Scottish Government News Release
7.9.09 ‘Adopt an apprentice scheme’ Scottish Government News Release
24.8.09 ‘Minimum wage for agricultural apprentices’ Scottish Government News Release
11.8.09 ‘New retail apprenticeships’ Scottish Government News Release
27.7.09 ‘Childcare apprenticeships’ Scottish Government News Release
29.6.09 ‘Apprenticeships in life sciences’ Scottish Government News Release
31.8.09 ‘Financial services traineeships’ Scottish Government News Release

K. Bussey 24.6.09 ‘Minister rules out changes to debt scheme’ The Scotsman
B. Donnelly 24.6.09 ‘More help to people struggling with debt’ The Herald

3.8.09 ‘Planning changes aim to aid recovery;’ The Herald
D. Maddox 7.8.09 ‘Coming soon to town near you – £40m makeover’ The Scotsman
6.8.09 ‘Reviving town centres’ Scottish Government News Release
3.8.09 ‘Scotland’s planning system’ Scottish Government News Release
7.8.09 ‘Edinburgh housing scheme gets £2m regeneration boost’ ghe Scotsman
H. Mcardle 7.8.09 ‘Street value: 50 Scots towns win £40m boost to beat credit crunch’ The Herald
B. Ferguson 4.6.09 ‘Swinney admits planning system has failings’ The Scotsman
L. Cameron 3.8.09 ‘Stevenson hails new rules to speed up planning’ The Scotsman
2.8.09 ‘Major planning changes in force’ BBC

4.6.09 ‘Graeme Brown: Don’t leave country’s charities to shoulder burden of cuts in council spending’ The Scotsman
12.6.09 ‘Public Social Partnership welcomed’ Scottish Government News Release
9.6.09 ‘Cabinet meets Third Sector’ Scottish Government News Release
24.6.09 ‘Further support for Third Sector’ Scottish Government News Release
D. Maddox 11.6.09 ‘’We need to save like England’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 17.8.09 ‘Tories seek to exploit rifts over council tax successor’ The Scotsman
D. Scott 10.9.09 ‘Choosing the right tax to fund councils’ The Scotsman
4.4 Healthcare and Public Health and 4.5 Cigarettes, Alcohol and Food

I. Johnston 17.8.09 ‘Ministers ignored advice on mass issue of Tamiflu’ The Telegraph
C. Sweeney 23.7.09 ‘School holidays could be extended to slow spread of swine flu’ The Times
C. Sweeney 24.7.09 ‘Dying swine flu patient flown from Scotland to Swedish hospital’ The Times
24.7.09 ‘’Best chance’ for swine flu woman’ BBC
S. Lister 11.8.09 ‘Side-effects of Tamiflu outweigh benefits for children with swine flu, study shows’ The Times
13.7.09 ‘Flu staff praised’ The Scottish Government
23.7.09 ‘Influenza patient transfer’ The Scottish Government
A. Campsie 25.9.09 ‘Record as swine flu virus hits 1000 Scots each day’ The herald
24.9.09 ‘Swine flu Scot sent to England for treatment’ The herald
2.7.09 ‘Move to treatment phase’ Scottish Government News Release

L. Davidson 21.6.09 ‘Call for Westminster to foot bill for swine flu drugs’ The Times
A. Macleod 22.6.09 ‘Sturgeon accused of playing politics over swine flu’ The Times
B. Currie 19.7.09 ‘Sturgeon seizes on health cash warning’ The Herald

R. Smith 27.8.09 ‘NHS projected to have record £1.75bn surplus’ The Telegraph
31.8.09 ‘English cancer patients are failing to claim free prescriptions’ The Herald
17.8.09 ‘Cameron in ‘smears’ row over support for NHS’ The Herald

M. Reid 30.7.09 ‘SNP under fire after C. diff kills 28 people at Gartnavel Royal Hospital’ The Times
C. Sweeney 24.6.09 ‘No charges over worst C. diff outbreak’ The Times
29.7.09 ‘Hospital C. diff record defended’ BBC
8.7.09 ‘C. Diff rates at record low’ Scottish Government News Release
4.9.09 ‘C diff inquiry’ Scottish Government News Release
24.6.09 ‘Vale of Leven Inquiry’ Scottish Government News Release
9.9.09 ‘Boyack attack over superbug’ The Scotsman
T. Peterkin 30.8.09 ‘Hospitals start superbug screening programme’ The Scotsman–
9.9.09 ‘Improving patient safety’ Scottish Government News Release
29.6.09 ‘Consistency key to infection control’ Scottish Government News Release
8.6.09 ‘Superbug supremo selected’ Scottish Government News Release

M. Reid 17.6.09 ‘Call to combat the killer diseases that blight Scotland’s health’ The Times
M. Reid 17.6.09 ‘Case for vitamin D to do great deal of good grows more compelling’ The Times
24.9.09 ‘Government hails ‘fantastic’ cervical cancer jab campaign’ The Herald

10.9.09 ‘Scottish death rate falls to new low’ The Herald
B. Donnelly 24.9.09 ‘Scottish life expectancy still below UK average’ The Herald

S. MacDonald 5.7.09 ‘Methadone cost hits £16.6m’ The Times

S. Macnab 22.9.09 ‘Residential care for drug addicts at ‘astonishing’ all-time low’ The Scotsman
12.8.09 ‘Tackling drug deaths’ Scottish Government News Release

D. Maddox 5.8.09 ‘Fears over ban on tobacco displays’ The Scotsman
S. Macnab 2.8.09 ‘Support for ‘fire safe’ cigarettes’ The Scotsman
14.9.09 ‘Scottish ministers urged to make it a crime for adults to buy cigarettes for underage smokers’ The Herald
13.9.09 ‘Smoking ban cuts heart attack rate’ The Herald
23.9.09 ‘Campaigners warn smoking is a ‘childhood addiction’’ The Herald
22.9.09 ‘Reducing child smoking rates’ Scottish Government News Release
14.9.09’ Tobacco firms claim proposed display ban is ‘unnecessary’’ he Scotsman
D. Maddox 25.9.09 ‘Tobacco display ban moves a step closer with Holyrood vote’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 25.9.09 ‘MSPs vote to restrict sale of tobacco’ The Herald

M.O.Hara 7.6.09 ‘Concern over mental health training in public sector’ The Guardian
S. Naysmith 14.9.09 ‘Mental health festival aims to provide the feelgood factor’ he Herald
M. Linklater 16.9.09 ‘The illness that dare not speak its name’ The Times
20.9.09 ‘Adults With Incapacity Code’ Scottish Government News Release

J. Robertson 26.7.09 ‘Briefing: Junior doctors’ hours’ The Times
A. Craig 2.8.09 ‘NHS ‘urging junior doctors to lie about hours to comply with EU laws’’The Dailymail
M. Macaskill 16.8.09 ‘Junior doctors pushed to work illegal hours’ The Times
27.9.09 ‘The NHS bonus culture exposed’ The herald

23.6.09 ‘Concern over child health service’ BBC
R. Robertson 27.6.09 ‘Plan to merge nursing roles is abandoned by Sturgeon’ The Herald
G. Harris 27.6.09 ‘Harry Burns’s prescription for Scots’ The Times
M. De. Andrade 29.6.09 ‘MSPs seek answers as cervical cancer vaccine fears grow’ he Scotsman
L. Moss 30.6.09 ‘Doctors warn Brown: Don’t make us pay for your errors’ The Scotsman
R. Smith 20.6.09 ‘Complaining patients could end up with worse treatment’ The Telegraph
C. Hope 30.7.09 ‘NHS follows rules that ‘guarantee failure’, says Civitas’ The Telegraph
16.6.09 ‘Health board election pilots’ Scottish Government News Release
30.6.09 ‘Dentist numbers hit new high’ Scottish Government News Release

L. McIntosh and C. Sweeney 17.7.09 ‘Liquid gas safety rules ‘inadequate’ five years after Stockline’ The Times

22.6.09 ‘Minimum alcohol pricing policy backed by top medics’ The Scotsman
E. Barnes 5.7.09 ‘Minimum price for alcohol set at 40p per unit’ The Scotsman
12.7.09 ‘Warning over alcohol price plan’ BBC
28.7.09 ‘SNP alcohol ‘breakthrough’ as brewer backs minimum pricing’ the Scotsman
A. Macleod 28.7.09 ‘Brewer Molson Coors backs Scottish debate on minimum alcohol pricing’ The Times
G. Braiden 11.9.09 ‘Stores targeted in war on cut-price alcohol’ The Herald
B. Currie 12.9.09 ‘Government faces backlash over ban on cut-price alcohol’ He Herald
A. Macleod 15.9.09 ‘Watchdog challenge to minimum alcohol pricing’ he Times
T. Peterkin 16.9.09 ‘Whisky group attacks price plan’ The Scotsman (note point about Scottish Policy Style – does not mean that will agree to consulted demands! What about details?)
28.9.09 ‘Alcohol pricing could save £950m’ BBC
28.9.09 ‘Minimum alcohol pricing will save billions – report’ The Scotsman
S. Johnson 28.9.09 ‘Alcohol minimum price would save Scotland £950 million, claim academics’ he Telegraph
A. Macleod 29.9.09 ‘Minimum pricing will cost moderate drinkers £11 a year’ The Times
T. Peterkin 12.9.09 ‘SNP curb on drink prices is condemned in America’ The Scotsman–

R. Dinwoodie 27.7.09 ‘MacAskill postpones part of reform to drinks law’ The Herald
K. Bussey 31.7.09 ‘Licensing board chief slams ‘ambiguities’’ The Scotsman
E. Barnes 2.8.09 ‘Call to scrap alcohol laws as chaos looms’ The Scotsman
G. Braiden 1.9.09 ‘New licensing laws force pubs to shut’ The Herald
C. Sweeney 2.9.09 ‘Pubs forced to close as new licensing laws take effect’ The Times
26.7.09 ‘Alcohol licensing’ Scottish Government News Release
T. Peterkin 31.8.09 ‘Licensees forced to pay £60m to comply with new alcohol laws’ The Scotsman–

5.8.09 ‘’Little help’ for alcohol abusers’ BBC
14.9.09 ‘Government not making enough use of alcohol treatment centres, claim Lib Dems’ The Scotsman
M. Reid 15.9.09 ‘We must curb Scotland’s drink problem, says BMA boss’ The Times
A. Macleod 16.9.09 ‘Scottish alcohol deaths more than five times UK average’ The Times
C. Sweeney 3.6.09 ‘Minimum pricing ‘will have little effect on problem drinkers’’ The Times
C. Sweeney 30.6.09 ‘Alcohol behind 1 in 20 Scottish deaths’ The Times
23.6.09 ‘Smoking, drugs and alcohol survey’ Scottish Government News Release

R. Prince 22.7.09 ‘No takers for Alcohol Disorder Zones’ The Telegraph

4.6 Justice

D. Maddox 28.5.09 ‘MacAskill admits open jail gaffe over ‘Hawk’ prisoner’ The Scotsman–admits–
A. Macleod 28.5.09 ‘Kenny MacAskill shifts the blame over Castle Huntly escape’ The Times
L. Davidson 29.5.09 ‘Salmond fails to inform Holyrood of second escape from Castle Huntly jail’ the Times
1.6.09 ‘MacAskill challenged over claim of prisoner ‘cover-up’’ The Herald
30.5.09 ‘MacAskill feels the heat over murderer on the run’ The Herald
H. Macdonell ‘MacAskill dealt further blow as jailbreak pressure mounts’ The Scotsman
H. Macdonell 29.5.09 ‘Salmond accused as killer goes on the run’ The Scotsman–
H. Macdonell 1.6.09 ‘MacAskill dealt further blow as jailbreak pressure mounts’ The Scotsman
C. Fairweather 26.6.09 ‘MacAskill should have seen system was going awry for a long time’ The Scotsman
A. Macleod 26.6.09 ‘Brian Martin escaped from open prison despite warnings from police’ The Times
M. McLaughlin 26.6.09 ‘Report eases pressure on justice secretary’ The Scotsman
L. Adams 26.6.09 ‘Blunders that allowed violent inmate to abscond’ The Herald

M. Howie 26.5.09 ‘Sentences shake-up an easy option, believes half the public’ The Scotsman
M. Howie 24.6.09 ‘MSPs attack plans to give police input on sentences’ The Scotsman
S. Macnab 24.6.09 ‘Short jail terms for women slated’ The Scotsman
M. Wade 26.6.09 ‘Phase out short prison terms, says chief constable David Strang’ The Times

24.6.09 ‘£5.5m bid to speed up community service’ The Herald
K. Bussey 31.7.09 ‘MacAskill: Low-level offenders better off out of prison’ the Scotsman

9.6.09 ‘SPS to set out stance on jail overcrowding’ The Scotsman
J. Allardyce and M. Macaskill 14.6.09 ‘Focus: How to punish, if prison’s a break?’ The Times
T. Peterkin 4.7.09 ‘Anger at ‘soft’ jail terms for serious attacks’ The Scotsman
P. McBride 4.7.09 ‘MacAskill’s move to tie sheriff’s hands is nothing to do with justice’ The Scotsman
A. Macleod 5.7.09 ‘Cherie Blair backs community sentences and angers Labour’ The Times
6.7.09 ‘McLeish derides Labour critics of prison overhaul’ The Herald
A. philip 6.7.09 ‘McLeish hits out at Labour ‘nonsense’ on prison sentencing’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 14.7.09 ‘’Soft-touch’ claim as community sentences soar by 30%’ The Scotsman
K. MacAskill 14.7.09 ‘SNP fails to record how many community orders completed’ The Times
18.7.09 ‘Prison chiefs admit inmate numbers exceed safe limits’ The Herald
A. Campsie 31.7.09 ‘Prison is not always the answer, MacAskill insists’ The Herald
M. Mclaughlin 18.9.09 ‘600% rise in ex-cons back in court after flouting their parole’ The Scotsman

B. Currie 15.7.09 ‘Pressure to mount on MacAskill for running of his department’ The Herald
M. Howie 16.7.09 ‘MacAskill in the dock over plans to scrap one in three courts’ The Scotsman
L. Davidson 15.7.09 ‘A third of courts could shut under legal review’ The Times
B. Currie 1.9.09 ‘On call: MacAskill returns to normal duties’ The Herald
31.5.09 ‘MacAskill facing Holyrood showdown’ The Scotsman

T. Peterkin 7.6.09 ‘Two-thirds of knife criminals avoid jail’ The Scotsman
M. Howie 23.7.09 ‘Police reveal nation divided in war against violent crime’ The Scotsman–
A. Philip 24.8.09 ‘Two-thirds of knife criminals have past conviction’ The Scotsman
31.8.09 ‘Knife crime statistics prompt Labour demand for jail terms’ The Herald
24.8.09 ‘LibDem: Prison largely useless as deterrent to knife crime’ The Herald
5.6.09 ‘Knives licensing’ Scottish Government News Release

H. Macdonell 10.6.09 ‘Scots police numbers reach a record high’ The Scotsman
BBC 9.6.09 ‘Police numbers ‘at record high’’ BBC
M. Mclaughlin 3.8.09 ‘Crimefighting faces cuts as biggest police force is hit by £35m deficit’ The Scotsman
C. Sweeney 3.8.09 ‘Police forces across Scotland admit budget crisis’ The Times
H. Macdonell 12.6.09 ‘New £20m police pension black hole – and taxpayer has to fill it’ The Scotsman–
I. Swanson 26.6.09 ‘Whyte warns national policing board may lead to single force’ The Scotsman

29.5.09 ‘Labour attempts to remove ‘get-out’ clause in rape law’ The Scotsman
10.6.09 ‘MSPs move to close loophole in new rape bill’ The Herald
BBC 10.6.09 ‘MSPs pass major sex crime reforms’ BBC
R. Dinwoodie 11.6.09 ‘Holyrood passes landmark legislation on rape and sexual assault’ The Herald
3.8.09 ‘Fewer than one in ten rape cases in Scotland ends up in court’ The Herald
23.7.09 ‘Project to ‘turnaround’ offenders’ BBC
K. Bussey 29.7.09 ‘Treatment for jailed sex offenders is ‘woefully inadequate’’ The Scotsman
S. Macnab 2.8.09 ‘Less than 10% of rape cases prosecuted’ The Scotsman
10.6.09 ‘Sexual Offences Bill’ Scottish Government News Release

BBC 2.6.09 ‘Evidence begins at McKie inquiry’ BBC

M. Macaskill 14.6.09 ‘Euro threat to Scots justice’ The Times

R. Dinwoodie 19.6.09 ‘£50m to be saved by bill to reduce prisoners’ claims’ The Herald
18.6.09 ‘Legal loophole for prisoners closed’ Scottish Government News Release

J. Robertson 26.7.09 ‘£100m paid to victims of crime’ The Times
19.7.09 ‘’Lack of help’ for abuse victims’ BBC

M. Reid 24.9.09 ‘Lord Advocate says assisted suicide law is a matter for Scottish Parliament’ The Times
25.9.09 ‘MSP wants free vote on legal suicide bill’ he Scotsman

T. Whitehead 20.8.09 ‘Police face calls to scrap thousands of DNA files’ The Telegraph

A. Macleod 27.5.09 ‘Immigrants choose England over Scotland’ The Times
R. Dinwoodie 27.7.09 ‘Migrants who settle in Scotland will get extra citizenship points’ The Herald
T. Crichton 4.8.09 ‘New point system for immigrants’ The Herald
3.8.09 ‘Fresh calls to end the detention of children’ The Herald
1.8.09 ‘SNP urge end to child detentions’ BBC

10.7.09 ‘Minister promises action over sectarian flags’ The Herald
A. Macleod 23.4.09 ‘SNP urged to drop ‘sectarian and divisive’ Muslim candidate’ The Times

4.7 Education

B. Currie 2.6.09 ‘Tories and LibDems join in criticism of SNP over potential loss of teaching jobs’ The Herald
L. Christie 15.6.09 ‘SNP is accused of ‘betraying’ new teachers’ The Scotsman
G. Paton 11.8.09 ‘Teaching scheme branded ‘a flop’’ The Telegraph
D. Maddox 25.9.09 ‘The lady vanishes: beleaguered education secretary accused of fleeing schools debate’ The Scotsman
17.8.09 ‘Labour on attack over drop in teaching posts’ The Herald
J. Allardyce and J. Robertson 30.8.09 ‘Galbraith: sack bad teachers’ The Times
A. Denholm 9.9.09 ‘Scottish teachers fall behind in European salary scale’ The Herald

J. Belgutay and J. Allardyce 28.6.09 ‘SNP’s class-size pledge ‘dead in water’’ The Times
J. Allardyce and J. Belgutay 28.6.09 ‘Class struggle for parents ahead of new term’ The Times
2.7.09 ‘Parents ‘misled on class sizes’’ BBC
R. Jacson 21.7.09 ‘Tory claims agreement exposes end to SNP class-size policy’ The Scotsman
27.7.09 ‘Councils are ignoring class vow, say Tories’ The Herald
D. Maddox 27.6.09 ‘SNP denies abandoning move to cut primary class sizes’ The Scotsman
23.9.09 ‘Shambles in schools’ The Herald
F. Macleod 9.9.09 ‘Pupils need better teachers, not smaller classes, says academic’ The Scotsman
A. Macleod 26.6.09 ‘SNP ‘wriggling out’ of promise on primary classes’ The Times
A. Denholm 29.9.09 ‘Fears for pupils in classroom funding shortfall’ The Herald
L. McIntosh 9.9.09 ‘Smaller class sizes ‘don’t benefit pupils’’ The Times
A. Denholm 23.9.09 ‘Lesson in realism as class size of 25 targeted’ The Herald
L. Mcintosh 23.9.09 ‘Primary class sizes to be reduced to 25’ The Times

28.7.09 ‘Childcare boost for economy’ The Scotsman
12.8.09 ‘It’s childs’ play’ The Herald

D. Maddox and F. Macleod 18.6.09 ‘Delay on new schools drags into 2011’ The Scotsman
F. Macleod 18.6.09 ‘Slow progress on a long-term problem’ The Scotsman
L. McIntosh 18.6.09 ‘SNP building plan attacked for lack of new schools’ The Times
S. Macnab 20.6.09 ‘School closures must be clearer, say MSPs’ The Scotsman
A. Denholm 29.6.09 ‘SNP slammed over changes in school repairs priority lists’ The Herald
Scottish Government News Release 17.6.09 ‘MSPs learn of new schools programme’
V. Rames 28.9.09 ‘Crumbling schools are given cash to rebuild’ The Scotsman
28.9.09 ‘Education Secretary announces first schools to get £1bn funding boost’ The Herald
25.8.09 ‘Cash boost for new Gaelic schools’ BBC

A. Macleod 25.9.09 ‘Fiona Hyslop a victim of her party’s Alice and Wonderland manifesto’ The Times
24.9.09 ‘Salmond backs embattled minister’ BBC

A. Denholm 23.9.09 ‘Scottish Government plans overhaul of primary schools’ The Herald

Curriculum for excellence
L. McIntosh 8.7.09 ‘Mission to declutter the education system’ The Times
L. McIntosh 8.7.09 ‘Now join up the details, teachers demand’ The Times
M. Linklater 8.7.09 ‘We must also teach the basics – or repeat the blunders England made in the 1960s’ The Times
F. Macleod 10.7.09 ‘New schools curriculum is branded ‘not good enough’’ The Scotsman
F. Macleod 22.9.09 ‘Fears of lack of detail in school plans dismissed by minister’ The Scotsman
9.6.09 ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ Scottish Government News Release

23.6.09 ‘Fewer pupils eating school meals’ BBC

D. Maddox 20.7.09 ‘New call to open up private schools to poorer children’ Thee Scotsman–

J. Allardyce and J. Belgutay 7.6.09 ‘SNP snubs David Willetts plan to lower university grades’ The Times
J. Allardyce 2.8.09 ‘University drop out rate is 11%’ The Times
L. McIntosh 4.8.09 ‘Record Highers pass rate squeezes university places’ The Times
5.8.09 ‘Exam passes reach record levels’ BBC
S. Macdonald 9.8.09 ‘Fears for exam value as 44% score gains Higher pass’ The Times
L. McIntosh 15.7.09 ‘Status at risk as universities cut jobs’ The Times
14.9.09 ‘We will pay a heavy price if we lose free university education’ The Herald

23.6.09 ‘Fees boost for part-time study’ The Scotsman
P. Wintour 19.7.09 ‘Student fees for those who live at home should be axed – report’ The Guardian
J. Swaine 28.7.09 ‘Universities should take more poor pupils if fees are to rise, says Mandelson’ The Telegraph
10.9.09 ‘Tuition fees reintroduction call’ BBC News
S. Mackinnon 6.11.08 ‘Call for three-year uni courses’ BBC News
9.3.09 ‘Extra funds for further education’ BBC News
10.9.09 ‘Call to bring back university tuition fees’ The Herald
17.9.09 ‘Scotland will not reintroduce university tuition fees’ The herald
G. Peev 21.9.09 ‘Scots Liberal Democrats warn Clegg: Think again on allowing tuition fees’ The Scotsman
31.8.09 ‘Record level of student hardship funding, say LibDems’ The Herald

M. Macaskill 31.5.09 ‘Truants bribed not to skip class’ The Times
L. McIntosh 11.6.09 ‘Pupils freed to leave school at 16 without any qualifications’ The Times
I. Swanson and G. Fraser 28.7.09 ‘Schools chief ‘destroying vital project’’ The Scotsman
S. Macnab 12.9.09 ‘£1m education pledge ‘broken’’ The Scotsman

G. Paton 1.7.09 ‘Ed Balls: Teachers to be ‘licensed’ to work in schools’ The Telegraph
2.7.09 ‘Ed Balls criticised over academies programme’ The Telegraph
J. Shepherd 22.7.09 ‘Primary teachers should have A-level maths and English, say thinktank’ The Guardian
E. Conway 22.7.09 ‘Education spending to be cut by £100m despite Gordon Brown’s pledge’ The Telegraph
4.8.09 ‘Sats results: fewer primary school pupils reach English standard’ The Telegraph

4.8 Social Services and Social Work

C. Sweeney 17.9.09 ‘Elderly not fed properly at care homes’ The Times

This could open up debate in Scotland on free personal care:

M. Beckford 15.7.09 ‘Elderly face £20,000 bill upon retirement for care costs’ The Telegraph
M. Beckford 15.7.09 ‘Elderly care Green Paper: Labour accused of doing too little, too late’ The Telegraph
M. Beckford 14.7.09 ‘Care funding: pros and cons of the options’ The Telegraph
14.7.09 ‘Andy Burnham says ‘cruel lottery’ of elderly care must end ‘ The Telegraph
J. Hope, L. Philips and A. Dolan 19.8.09 ‘Justice over care home costs: NHS forced to refund £350,000 fees to grieving families’ The Dailymail

26.6.09 ‘Take more children away from addict parents, says Labour leader’ The Scotsman
G. Braiden 29.6.09 ‘£8m pledged to build children’s homes’ The Herald
L. Mcintosh 20.8.09 ‘Brandon Muir: social workers knew of Heather Boyd’s chaotic life’ he Times
L. Mcintosh 20.8.09 ‘Brandon Muir timeline’ The Times
L. Mcintosh 20.8.09 ‘Demand for public inquiry into death of Brandon Muir’ The Times
9.9.09 ‘Government bid to salvage children’s hearing laws’ The Herald
R. Dinwoodie 8.9.09 ‘Row over lawyers at children’s hearings’ The Herald

4.9 Energy, Transport and Environment
4.10 Agriculture, Fish, Food and Water

J. Haworth 27.5.09 ‘MSPs reject tough climate targets in committee vote’ The Scotsman
J. Haworth 18.6.09 ‘Salmond rapped for failing climate request’ The Scotsman
B. Currie 22.6.09 ‘SNP plan for carbon cuts too weak, say opposition’ The Herald
R. Dinwoodie 23.6.09 ‘SNP bows to Green lobby and amends carbon emissions cut’ The Herald
23.6.09 ‘Margo holds key to vote on climate’ The Scotsman
23.6.09 ‘Climate change targets ‘tougher’’ BBC
24.6.09 ‘SNP warms to higher target for reduction in emissions’ The Scotsman–
J. Haworth 25.6.09 ‘MSPs get power to fine over climate change’ The Scotsman
24.6.09 ‘MSPs agree 42% pollution-reduction target by 2020’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 25.6.09 ‘MPs back target to reduce emissions by 42%’ The Herald
A. Macleod 24.6.09 ‘Bill to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050’ The Times
8.9.09 ‘Progress made on emissions’ Scottish Government News Release
2.9.09 ‘Climate Challenge Fund’ Scottish Government News Release
5.8.09 ‘Climate Change Bill’ Scottish Government News Release
25.6.09 ‘Climate Change Bill passed’ Scottish Government News Release
23.6.09 ‘Climate change agreement’ Scottish Government News Release

M. Macaskill 31.5.09 ‘Bikes pushed as eco plan in Scots cities’ The Times
D. Maddox 29.6.09 ‘Scots vehicles to go electric in next ten years, vow ministers’ The Scotsman
J. Ross 24.7.09 ‘SNP accused of falling behind with road improvements’ The Scotsman
26.8.09 ‘New high-speed rail plan unveiled’ BBC
8.6.09 ‘High speed rail link’ Scottish Government News Release

D. Maddox 1.7.09 ‘MSPs back nuclear-free goal but seek more years from existing plants’ The Scotsman
A. Seager 12.7.09 ‘Civil servants accused of delaying renewable energy incentives’ The Guardian
F. Urquhart 18.8.09 ‘Salmond announces £2.6m for green energy centre’ The Scotsman

D. Ross 1.7.09 ‘MSPs under fire over Beauly to Denny line’ The Herald
J. Ross 4.7.09 ‘Holyrood ignored power line evidence, claim critics’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 27.8.09 ‘Power line ‘could create 12,000 green jobs’’ The Scotsman
27.8.09 ‘Green power ‘may create 12,500 jobs’’ The Herald

10.6.09 ‘Holyrood backing for council tax breaks on energy’ The Herald

S. Houston and J. Belgutay 12.7.09 ‘Paper meant for recycling is dumped’ The Times
F. Urquhart 21.8.09 ‘Minister unveils plans for a ‘zero waste’ Scotland’ The Scotsman
A. Philip 28.9.09 ‘Home-insulation scheme ‘set up to fail’, say Greens’ The Scotsman–
20.8.09 ‘Zero Waste Plan’ Scottish Government News Release

R. Dinwoodie 28.5.09 ‘Liberal Democrats flock to Holyrood to protest at ‘unworkable’ electronic tagging of sheep’ The Herald
D. Charter 2.6.09 ‘CCTV fishing trial aims for big quotas but less waste’ The Times
H. Macdonell 15.6.09 ‘Deer could be shot all year round under wildlife law reforms’ The Scotsman
B. Currie 9.6.09 ‘SNP attacked over rural funding’ The Herald
D. Ross 26.6.09 ‘MSPs call for Ombudsman to mediate in price wrangles’ The Herald (PIG REPORT)
N. Christian 19.7.09 ‘Pledge to safeguard Scots food supplies’ The Scotsman
B. Currie 20.7.09 ‘Scotland could be hit by food shortages’ The Herald
11.8.09 ‘GM produce is back on the political menu, says minister’ The Scotsman
A. Philip 21.9.09 ‘’Failing fishing rules need urgent reform’’ The Scotsman—
21.9.09 ‘Farming for a better climate’ Scottish Government News Release
31.7.09 ‘Protecting fish stocks’ Scottish Government News Release
30.7.09 ‘Single Farm Payment timetable’ Scottish Government News Release
25.6.09 ‘Single Farm Payment Inquiry’ The Scottish Governement

D. Ross 14.7.09 ‘Crofters mobilising against ‘oppressive’ draft reform bill’ The Herald
D. Ross 12.8.09 ‘Crofters and landowners join forces against reform Bill’ The Herald
M. Wade 11.8.09 ‘Crofters warn of traditions being lost ‘within two generations’’ The Times

A. Macleod 31.7.09 ‘Pressure on SNP to revive Scottish Land Fund’ The Times
C. Macleod and N. Busby 27.8.09 ‘Cash up front or right to buy is meaningless’ The Scotsman

4.12 Housing and Homelessness
E. Barnes and T. Peterkin 14.6.09 ‘Holyrood set to levy tax on house sales’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 12.6.09 ‘Gray’s pledge on repossessions’ The Herald
B. Currie 16.6.09 ‘Swinney announces £31m housing boost ‘ The Herald ‘
7.7.09’ Immigrants do not get housing priority, study shows’ The Telgraph
I. Swanson and S. McAngus 16.7.09 ‘Capital housing waiting list ‘would take 13 years to clear’’ The Scotsman
5.8.09 ‘MP attacks ‘muddled’ government schemes to help homeowners’ The Herald
T. Peterkin 10.8.09 ‘SNP accused of favouritism over green housing scheme’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 20.8.09 ‘Labour calls for Scottish figures on housing repossessions’ The Scotsman
S. Macnab ‘Call for £200m of new homes’ The Scotsman
4.9.09 ‘More homes for homeless households’ Scottish Government News Release
27.8.09 ‘Number of affordable homes soar’ Scottish Government News Release
10.7.09 ‘Right to buy slammed’ Scottish Government News Release
26.6.09 ‘Council homes across Scotland’ Scottish Government News Release
10.6.09 ‘Help to prevent homelessness’ Scottish Government News Release
30.7.09 ‘More energy efficient homes’ Scottish Government News Release

4.13 Culture and Media

D. Maddox 16.7.09 ‘SNP under fire for no plan to mark Reformation’ The Scotsman
C. Sweeney 17.7.09 ‘Upturn cheers Scots tourist chiefs as golfers take to the fairways’ The Times
S. Macnab 29.7.09 ‘Ministers hold talks over fresh Gathering’ The Scotsman
A. brown 26.7.09 ‘Clans make it a giant party’ The Times
R. Dinwoodie 7.8.09 ‘Campbell pipes up in praise of devolution and Homecoming’ The Herald


I. Swanson 6.7.09 ‘Government attacked over refusal to ban circus animals’ The Scotsman

[1] See previous monitors: Cairney, September 2007: 17; Cairney, January 2008: 10-11; Cairney, May 2009: 41.
[2] T. Gordon 3.8.09 ‘Sir John Elvidge in ‘bias’ row’ The Times
[3] E. Barnes 7.9.09 ‘Top civil servants plan for break-up of the UK’ The Scotsman; A. Macleod 8.9.09 ‘Civil servants accused of stoking conflict with UK’ The Times The other, much less newsworthy strategies were competing, co-existing and collaboration
[4] D. Maddox 22.9.09 ‘Pressure piles on Scotland’s top mandarin over ‘Nationalist bias’’ The Scotsman
[5] A. Macleod 6.8.09 ‘Salmond accused of using public funds to campaign’ The Times

[6] D. Maddox 27.6.09 ‘Quango row blamed on SNP’ The Scotsman
[7] See also a similar debate regarding the UK Government – e.g. M. Settle 7.6.09 ‘Whitehall hits back at attack on quangos’ The Herald
[8] HM Government/ Cm 7654 (June 2009) Building Britain’s Future; P. Johnston 29.6.09 ‘The ultimate turnaround from Labour, the dying Government’ The Telegraph
[9] J. Allardyce 21.6.09 ‘Scottish government missing half of targets’ The Times
[10] A. Macleod 13.8.09 ‘Jim Mather rebuked by unions over Scottish unemployment claims’ The Times
[11] B. Jamieson 23.7.09 ‘Scotland ‘will fall to 9th’ in UK economic league table’ The Scotsman
[12] 26.7.09 ‘Time for oil fund – Finance Secretary’ Scottish Government News Release
[13] B. Currie 10.9.09 ‘Scotland always at the mercy of global firms’ The Herald
[14] D. Maddox 5.8.09 ‘Whyte & Mackay axes sixth of workforce’ The Scotsman
[15] 18.6.09 ‘Modern Apprenticeships’ Scottish Government News Release; S. Macnab 11.6.09 ‘Firms will be offered £2,000 to ‘adopt’ apprentices’ The Scotsman
[16] 23.6.09 ‘Dealing with debt’ Scottish Government News Release
[17] 19.6.09 ‘Prompt payment for businesses’ Scottish Government News Release
[18] 19.6.09 ‘Funding to help people find work’ Scottish Government News Release
[19] 2.6.09 ‘Help through the downturn’ Scottish Government News Release; L. McIntosh and J. Sugden 9.7.09 ‘’Colleges must help employers find way through recession’’ The Times
[20] 24.8.09 ‘Help to keep the mentally fragile in work’ The Herald

[21] R. Smith 27.8.09 ‘NHS set for record £1.75bn surplus as patients protest over cancer drugs ‘ The Telegraph
[22] D. Maddox 24.6.09 ‘Swine-flu row erupts as Westminster rules out vaccination cash’ The Scotsman
[23] 1.6.09 ‘Target for drug treatment’ Scottish Government News Release
[24] 15.9.09 ‘Expert in heroin prescribing call’ BBC; M. Reid 13.8.09 ‘Scottish government accused of accepting steep rise in drug-related deaths’ The Times
[25] A. Pollock 22.6.09 ‘Rationing and charges would destroy NHS principles’ The Scotsman; L. Moss 22.6.09 ‘Free NHS cannot survive, doctors told’ The Scotsman
[26] 30.6.09 ‘Praise for Holyrood ‘maturity’’ The Scotsman
[27] D. Maddox 25.9.09 ‘Tobacco display ban moves a step closer with Holyrood vote’ The Scotsman
[28] C. Sweeney 10.6.09 ‘Holyrood bid to banish trans fats from Scots diet’ The Times
[29] E.g. 30.6.09 ‘Alcohol-related deaths’ Scottish Government News Release
[30] 30.8.09 ‘New licensing laws come into force’ Scottish Government News Release
[31] E. Barnes 31.8.09 ‘SNP accused of drink crackdown by stealth’ The Scotsman; B. Currie 12.9.09 ‘Glasgow ’will not go out on a limb’ over alcohol promotions’ The Herald
[32] D. Maddox 23.6.09 ‘Minimum prices for alcohol a step closer as Lib Dems hint at U-turn’ The Scotsman; 16.8.09 ‘Labour backing paves way for minimum pricing of alcohol’ The Herald
[33]Scottish Government News Release 22.6.09 ‘Alcohol Summit’
[34] R. Dinwoodie 28.5.09 ‘Inquiry as MacAskill admits escapee should not have been in open prison’ The Herald
[35] 4.7.09 ‘Justice secretary has an uphill struggle over short sentences’ The Scotsman
[36] 31.8.09 ‘Reconviction rates’ Scottish Government News Release ; 31.8.09 ‘Most short-term inmates reoffend’ BBC News; S. Naysmith 17.9.09 ‘Overcrowded prisons ‘not able to offer rehabilitation’’ The Herald
[37] J. Quinn 12.8.09 ‘Labour leader accuses SNP of being soft on knife crime’ The Scotsman

[38] L. Mcintosh 3.8.09 ‘Cash crisis could derail SNP plans on policing’ The Times
[39] 10.6.09 ‘MSPs move to close loophole in new rape bill’ The Herald
[40] L. Mcintosh 25.9.09 ‘Fiona Hyslop battered by universities on teacher training cuts’ The Times; L. McIntosh 8.7.09 ‘New school curriculum ‘complete nonsense’ says its creator’ The Times ; S. Johnson 28.9.09 ‘Alex Salmond accused of two years’ ‘paralysis’ over school building’ The Telegraph; W. Humes 25.9.09 ‘Education crisis a political and professional failure’ The Times ; F. Macleod 17.7.09 ‘Increase in free nursery hours not enough for critics’ The Scotsman
[41] A. Denholm 23.9.09 ‘Hyslop to enforce Primary 1 classes of 25 pupils’ The Herald
[42] L. McIntosh 11.9.09 ‘Scotland ‘must bring back tuition fees’’ The Times

[43] E. Barnes 12.8.09 ‘Call for children at risk to be taken in to care sooner’ The Scotsman
[44] Christopher Hood, Will Jennings and Brian Hogwood, with Craig Beeston (2007) ‘Fighting Fires in Testing Times: Exploring a Staged Response Hypothesis for Blame Management in Two Exam Fiasco Cases’, Carr Research Paper 42
[45] T. Maxwell 20.8.09 ‘Brandon Muir: media’s obsession with child tragedies a danger, warns peer’ The Times
[46] C. Sweeney 17.9.09 ‘Elderly not fed properly at care homes’ The Times
[47] M. Beckford 14.7.09 ‘Care funding: pros and cons of the options’ The Telegraph
[48] K. Wright (2009) Climate Change (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, SPICe briefing, 09/43; BBC News 23.6.09 ‘Climate change targets ‘tougher’’
[49] F. Urquhart 21.8.09 ‘Minister unveils plans for a ‘zero waste’ Scotland’ The Scotsman
[50] D. Ross 1.7.09 ‘MSPs under fire over Beauly to Denny line’ The Herald
[51] 8.6.09 ‘High speed rail link’ Scottish Government News Release; D. Maddox 29.6.09 ‘Scots vehicles to go electric in next ten years, vow ministers’ The Scotsman
[52] A. Seager 12.7.09 ‘Civil servants accused of delaying renewable energy incentives’ The Guardian; D. Maddox 28.5.09 ‘Home lagging row rolls on’ The Scotsman
[53] D. Ross 14.7.09 ‘Crofters mobilising against ‘oppressive’ draft reform bill’ The Herald
[54] 11.8.09 ‘GM produce is back on the political menu, says minister’ The Scotsman
[55] A. Philip 21.9.09 ‘’Failing fishing rules need urgent reform’’ The Scotsman—; R. Dinwoodie 28.5.09 ‘Liberal Democrats flock to Holyrood to protest at ‘unworkable’ electronic tagging of sheep’ The Herald
[56] J. Quinn 27.6.09 ‘1,300 new council houses to be built in Scottish towns’ The Scotsman
[57] M. Butterworth 12.7.09 ‘New era of council house-building proposed by Conservatives’ The Telegraph
[58] 10.7.09 ‘Right to buy slammed’ Scottish Government News Release; 14.8.09 ‘Repossession figures’ Scottish Government News Release; 1.9.09 ‘Charity calls for an extra £200m a year for housing in Scotland’ The Herald
[59] 5.9.09 ‘Councils on track to meet targets on housing homeless’ The Scotsman
[60] R. Dinwoodie 25.9.09 ‘Salmond defends his controversial broadcasting plans’ The Herald
[61] D. Maddox 14.7.09 ‘Urgent call to safeguard the future of the Scottish newspaper industry’ The Scotsman; M. Reid 6.8.09 ‘Culture Minister demands answers from broadcasters’ The Times
[62] A. Brown and J. Belgutay 20.9.09 ‘Do we want all our news to be Scots-centric?’ The Times
[63] R. Dinwoodie 7.8.09 ‘Campbell pipes up in praise of devolution and Homecoming’ The Herald ; D. Maddox 16.7.09 ‘SNP under fire for no plan to mark Reformation’ The Scotsman ; D. Maddox 14.9.09 ‘Homecoming for Bruce ‘SNP brainwashing’’ The Scotsman

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The Scottish Parliament and Parties September 2009

This is chapter 3 of the Scottish Devolution Monitoring Report September 2009, but with added references at the end. For the full reports see

Key Points

  • The Scottish Parliament was only permitted to debate the release of al-Megrahi after the decision was made.
  • Alex Salmond has again been cleared of misleading the Scottish Parliament.
  • The draft annual budget has been published. Although there are many likely flashpoints, previous experience of the budget crisis may reduce conflict this year.
  • Most of the major parties have struggled to maintain an image of unity.
  • Few motions in the Scottish Parliament have put pressure on SNP policy.
  • The Westminster expenses scandal continues to cast a shadow over Holyrood.
  • Scottish Parliament committees are not the ‘motor of a new politics’. They favour headline-grabbing short inquires over high-impact long term inquiries. One of the notable exceptions is the agenda on parliamentary scrutiny of the annual budget.
  • The number of Scottish Government bills has rise to 15, but many are short and only 6 can be traced directly and meaningfully to the SNP manifesto.

3.1 The recall of the Scottish Parliament
One of many interesting aspects of the Al Megrahi decision is that it was made with no direct reference to the wishes of the Scottish Parliament. Although the Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson did recall the Scottish Parliament for an extraordinary debate in August[1], and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill was no doubt subject to the most stressful parliamentary exchange of his career, the debate took place after MacAskill made his decision. Fergusson rejected the option of the debate taking place before the decision, stating that it was ‘a matter for Scottish Ministers alone’.[2] While we should not make too much of individual cases, it does seem to reinforce the feeling that the famous dictum of ‘power sharing’ masks a rather traditional Westminster tradition in which the government governs and Parliament reacts. Indeed, given that its European and External Relations committee does not enjoy the same ‘scrutiny reserve’ afforded to the House of Commons[3], we may be tempted to conclude that the Scottish Parliament is less involved in the policymaking process than its Westminster counterpart.

3.2 Who Decides If Ministers are Telling the Truth? Part 3
Alex Salmond referred a second complaint (this time by Iain Gray) about his conduct in Parliament to the new independent advisory panel (George Reid and David Steel). The panel’s report concludes that Salmond did not mislead Parliament when he stated that 16 prisoners had absconded from Scotland’s open prison estate in 2008/9.[4] The complaint does little to dispel the notion that opposition MSPs are using any alleged inaccuracies in ministerial statements to question their integrity.[5] This is part of a wider process in which MSPs appear far happier than in the past to question the veracity of statements made by their parliamentary colleagues.[6]

3.3 Political Parties and the Annual Budget
Given the events of the last two years, few expect a smooth ride when the Scottish Government attempts to pass its third annual budget bill through the Scottish Parliament. Yet, the unexpected consequence of the spectre of the budget crisis last time could be (touch wood) that the parties become much more willing to cooperate even when this relatively tight budget presents the most potential for conflict. So far, attention has focused on the Scottish Government’s decision (in the draft budget) not to fund the £400m Glasgow Airport Rail Link, prompting the suggestion (reported much more in the Herald than the Scotsman) from Glasgow City Council leader Steven Purcell that it was being victimised (even though the Edinburgh equivalent has already been scrapped).[7] This now pits the SNP Government against Labour at three levels following Iain Gray’s claim that a drop in inflation has boosted the Scottish Government budget by £1bn and the UK Government’s insistence that the appearance of Scottish funding ‘cuts’ are caused by ‘frontloading’ (but not as much frontloading as the Scottish Government has requested) to boost the economy.[8] There are also some likely flashpoints regarding the cost of the National Conversation and preparation for a bill on an independence referendum, any costs borne by the Scottish Government (beyond the issue of council tax freezes) in preparation for a local income tax and the adequacy of money put aside for the building of new schools.

3.4. Political Parties and the Conference Season
This is a period in which the main parties seemed determined to shoot themselves in the foot. The SNP undermined its attempts to take the Glasgow-East by-election by struggling to elect a candidate and becoming mired in allegations about misleading campaign literature (which seems par for the course in elections) and using Scottish Government National Conversation and Cabinet meetings to drum up support. Meanwhile, the Labour Government gave the impression that it did not welcome another by-election by rejecting plans to accelerate Glasgow North-East and further delaying the prospect of Jack McConnell giving up his Scottish Parliament seat to become High Commissioner in Malawi. Attempts by Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy and Iain Gray to work together to reclaim ground from the SNP (in part in reference to nationalism and the Saltire, but also by focusing criticism on Salmond) were also overshadowed at times by the bigger issue of Gordon Brown’s popularity. Murphy has continued his attempts to equate Salmond on his level (and therefore below Gordon Brown) by challenging him to a debate, while Salmond prefers the prospect of joining the UK leaders in a TV debate before the next general election. In many ways the more interesting party conference comes from the Liberal Democrats, not only because it raised issues of the extent to which the leadership consults the Scottish leader (particularly on the ‘mansion tax’) and the prospect of Liberal Democrat support for an independence referendum (Tavish Scott maintains that the Liberal Democrats are still opposed), but also because it highlighted the party’s dilemmas when presenting a unified policy stance. In particular, Nick Clegg’s apparent suggestion that the Liberal Democrats would oppose tuition fees in principle but only abolish them when it was financially viable (which, in the eyes of many, may be never) is difficult to maintain when the policy has already been delivered in Scotland. The UK focus of the Conservative conference is in many ways the exception because David Cameron still seems the most keen to assure Scottish voters that he will govern them with respect.[9]

3.5 The New Politics of Voting[10]
Voting on parliamentary motions in this period reinforces the point that relatively few place the Scottish Government in a difficult position, many are proposed by the Scottish Government and backed by most MSPs (such as the motions in May praising NHS efforts to tackle swine flu and the ‘Cashback for the Communities’ scheme; the vote on the SNP’s waste strategy was more mixed), and many others promoted by opposition parties seek to reinforce existing Scottish Government policies and place them higher on its agenda (such as the European missing children alert system[11]). This leaves a small number of notable debates which seek to change Scottish Government policy. Yet, some of these have been significant in this period. The issue on which the SNP seems most vulnerable is education and several motions in September on compulsory education call into question its record on teacher numbers and class sizes.[12] This supplements a Labour motion in May (passed with the help of the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats) to switch funding from student debt to student support (by providing more loans for the poorest students and leave open the reintroduction of the graduate endowment). Perhaps the SNP’s defeat on the motion to welcome the Calman Commission[13] would have been more significant if backed by UK Labour and Conservative assurances on its implementation. The emergency debate on Al Megrahi was not linked to a motion, but then opposition parties voted in September to criticise MacAskill’s ‘mishandling’ of the case.[14]

3.6 Expenses
Although it is now much lower down the media agenda, the MP expenses scandal has still not run its course. Indeed, it seems to have provided a window of opportunity for wider constitutional reform (and perhaps a public debate on PR), which Gordon Brown has promoted alongside more focused measures regarding the transparency of MP behaviour. This may not be enough to draw attention from MPs with significant second jobs who employ family members and/ or ‘funnel’ expenses money to their local parties. As expected, although Holyrood continues to represent a potential source of policy learning,[15] the Westminster expenses scandal has prompted the Scottish Parliament to make sure that its own system is robust. A small (since the Langlands Review was only completed last year) independent review by Sir Neil McIntosh will be completed this year[16] and it may consider the practicalities of inviting MSPs to pay back any profits from the sale of their second homes.[17] The SNP is also seeking to use this window to promote political reforms as part of its National Conversation.[18] The expenses scandal has been used by opposition politicians to criticise Alex Salmond, focusing on his Westminster food expenses claims and the cost of his bid to ‘impeach’ Tony Blair (all in the context of pressure to force Salmond to resign as an MP).

3.7 Scottish Parliament Committees
The experience so far of minority government is that the Scottish Parliament committees have still not become the ‘motor of a new politics’. To some extent this could have been predicted because, although the Consultative Steering Group stressed the need for ‘power sharing’ between the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive, there was no equivalent move to share the resources (e.g. the vast majority of civil service resources are held by the Scottish Government) or the responsibility for policy initiation (with committees there to check that the Scottish Government consults with policy participants, scrutinise legislation when presented and, on rare occasions, initiate legislation when there is a perceived gap). From 1999-2007 there were additional reasons for a less-than-anticipated role for committees: the ability of the Labour/ Liberal Democrat coalition to dominate the parliamentary arithmetic in both plenary and committee undermined the ability of committees to pursue inquiries likely to be critical of existing policy, while the scale of legislation coming from the Scottish Executive undermined their ability to do anything but scrutinise government policy. Thus, the rallying cry of the committee legacy reports was for fewer government bills, to ensure that they also had time to set the agenda (although note that there were, of course, no equivalent calls for a reduction in party whipping to ensure that committees were businesslike). Yet, the reduction in legislation (in both numbers of bills and numbers of sections within them) and a consequent rise in free committee time has not produced the predicted results. The high-impact agenda setting inquiry is still a rare beast in the Scottish Parliament. Instead, opposition MSPs have focused on headline-grabbing, short term inquiries. There is also limited evidence to suggest that businesslike committees are making a difference to Scottish Government bills (the climate change bill may be the only exception so far). Instead, we find more examples of convenors using their casting votes along party lines rather than the once revered status quo, coupled with more examples of committee votes being overturned in plenary when the parliamentary arithmetic changes.

As previous monitors have noted, the best bet for committees is to focus on valence issues that brook no realistic disagreement and/ or issues that do not involve poring over former Scottish Executive policies or set out to criticise existing Scottish Government policy. While this does not leave much room to manoeuvre (and the issues may be complicated further by the party affiliations of individual convenors – e.g. Finance is SNP-led while Audit is Labour-led), there are some useful examples of reports not subject to division in this period. Perhaps most impressive is the report by Health and Sport which criticises the lack of sufficient implementation of widely-agreed policies on child and adolescent mental health services. In other words, this represents an attempt to raise the Scottish Government’s (and the Scottish Executive’s before it) own policy higher on its own agenda (in part by highlighting the most newsworthy problems).[19] Local Government and Communities urges the Scottish Government (as Finance did to the former Scottish Executive) to take a more active role in any local authority attempts to coordinate their responses to Single Status (an agreement between local authorities and trade unions to harmonise the pay and conditions of male and female workers). European and External Relations identifies the problem of EU structural funds during a recession (they rely on matched funding from the private and public sectors which may be less forthcoming) and (among other things) explores the scope to learn from Welsh Assembly Government initiatives (this was also backed by a parliamentary motion in May)[20]. Finance (Strategic Budget Scrutiny) considers the adverse effect of recession on future public spending and recommends that subject committees begin to consider how cuts can be made in their areas. Public Audit provides a report which is highly critical of the way that Transport Scotland’s chief executive (and permanent Secretary John Elvidge) dealt with the fact that Transport Scotland’s director of Finance and Corporate Services held shares in FirstGroup, the company negotiating with the Scottish Government to extend its rail franchise in Scotland. It has also requested that the Auditor General for Scotland examines the figures given to the committee regarding likely passenger numbers.[21] Rural Affairs and Environment also considers how best to support the pig industry in Scotland and ensure that more, affordable, housing is built in rural parts of Scotland (for example, though planning reforms) and that councils are given further powers to maintain stocks of social housing. There are also reports that do not betray much disagreement. For example, while Finance’s main bone of contention is whether or not the Scottish Government’s means of negotiating public sector pay with unions should be formalised (the Scottish Government position is that this relationship should be between employee and employer (e.g. the local authorities)), it agrees that a reform of the public sector ‘bonus culture’ should be reformed.[22] This seems less contentious than Economy, Energy and Tourism’s internal disagreement over the need for new nuclear power stations to form part of Scotland’s energy future. It is therefore all the more impressive that the EET produced such an extensive vision, based on a 12-month inquiry.

There have also been notable attempts by the Parliament to examine how it operates. For example, Public Petitions makes a range of recommendations (to itself) to make sure that the process is more widely known within Scotland, and has a good stab at listing the petitions it thinks have made a difference (see also the developing agenda on knife crime on the back of a petition[23]). Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments recommends a series of new standing orders to deal with forthcoming Scottish Government ‘Hybrid Bills’ (public bills which affect private interests – such as the likely Forth Crossing Bill). Most importantly, Finance examined the way that the budget process operates, as part of a broader review by the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee initiated in plenary in November 2007 (i.e. quickly following the establishment of minority government but before the problems that arose since). It suggests that, although the process compares favourably with budget processes in other countries (and Westminster in particular), it requires some revisions. In particular, while it recognises the basis for stage 1 discussion (to initiate a strategic overview of the budget by expert subject committees who feed into a finance committee report) it suggests that the process does not work effectively. Therefore, there should be a ‘new budget strategy phase’ to identify the government’s aims and priorities and assess the extent to which they have been met. Further, this should be undertaken primarily by the finance committee, to allow more flexibility in the timing of the review and to make it easier to track cross-cutting themes. It also recommends that other committees should ‘mainstream’ financial considerations into their inquiries and that the Scottish Government should inform Parliament when new policy proposals would trigger significantly new spending allocations.[24] Perhaps most significantly, it recommends that significant resources should be available (for the new Financial Scrutiny Unit[25]) to let committees scrutinise budget plans more effectively. While the Scottish Parliament has always in theory had the power to make alternative budget proposals, it is only with such a resource that any significant suggestions could be reasonably made. Given that the imbalance of resources is the main reason that the Scottish Parliament cannot ‘power share’ with the Scottish Government, it will be interesting to see if this initiative makes a difference and sets a precedent for ‘beefing up’ the committee process as a whole (although note that the FSU will draw on existing SPICE staff).

3.8 Committee Reports and Inquiries (20 May 2009 – 28 September 2009)[26]

European and External Relations:
10 June 2009 1st Report 2009: The impact of the financial crisis on EU support for economic development

29 June 5th Report 2009: Report on the Review of the Budget Process (Response from the Scottish Government)
22 June 4th Report 2009: Report on Public Sector Pay (Response from the Scottish Government)
9 June 2nd Report 2009: Strategic Budget Scrutiny

Public Audit:
11 June 2009 6th Report 2009: The First ScotRail passenger rail franchise

Public Petitions:
16 June 2009 3rd Report 2009: Inquiry into the public petitions process

Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments:
16 June 2009 7th Report 2009: Hybrid Bills

Subordinate Legislation:
29 June 2009 37th Report 2009: Report of Scottish Statutory Instruments laid in 2008

Economy, Energy and Tourism:
30 June 2009 7th Report 2009: Determining and delivering on Scotland’s energy future

Health and Sport
22 June 2009 7th Report 2009: Inquiry into child and adolescent mental health and well-being

Local Government and Communities:
10 June 2009 12th Report 2009: Equal Pay in Local Government

Rural Affairs and Environment:
25 June 2009 10th Report 2009: The Pig Industry ( Government response )
7 May 2009: 5th Report 2009: Rural Housing (Government response)

3.9 Parliamentary Bills (20 May 2009 – 28 September 2009)
Following a relatively significant flurry of legislative activity, the SNP is more difficult to describe as ‘work-shy’. Since anything more than 50 bills in four years is considered excessive by Scottish Parliament committees (assuming that many are fairly complex and require significant scrutiny), particularly since many of the former Scottish Executive’s policies did not require legislation, then 15 in just over two years may be approaching a respectable number under minority conditions. Yet, theses numbers may be misleading for at least two reasons. First, they may be relatively simple bills with few sections. Second, they may not be bills likely to set the heather on fire. For example, two were budget bills, four – preparing for the commonwealth games, reforming the judiciary and courts, reforming public health law, revising the law on sexual offences – were inherited, and three – on asbestos-related compensation (which arose unexpectedly following a House of Lords ruling), convention rights (following a Lords ruling on slopping out), decoupling local and Scottish Parliament elections – arose unexpectedly in the course of the Parliament. This leaves six bills – abolishing bridge tolls and the graduate endowment, introducing health board elections, addressing climate change, addressing additional support needs in education, updating flood prevention legislation – that can be traced directly and meaningfully to the SNP manifesto.

Scottish Government Bills Passed:
Climate Change (Scotland) Bill – to set long term (2050) and annual targets for the reduction of greenhouse gases and confer powers on Scottish Ministers to help meet them (e.g. to impose duties on public authorities). Following some negotiation with the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government brought forward its interim target from 2030 to 2020 and increased the proposed reduction in emissions from 34% to 42%.[27]
Convention Rights Proceedings (Amendment) (Scotland) Bill – an emergency bill (stages 1 to 3 taken on the same day) to ensure that claims for compensation related to the Human Rights Act 1998 (consistent with the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights) can only be made within one year of the relevant breach of the Act. It was introduced to address compensation claims in Scotland made by prisoners made to ‘slop out’ (see previous monitors).
Education (Additional Support for Learning) Bill – to amend the Education (Additional Support for Learning) (Scotland) Act 2004 to reform the process in which parents of children with additional support needs make requests to place children in schools outwith their local authority area (and any subsequent appeals to the Additional Support Needs Tribunal if a request is refused).
Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Bill – to reform flood management by assigning greater responsibility to SEPA, requiring SEPA to produce flood risk assessments and management plans, and transpose the EU Floods Directive.
Scottish Local Government (Elections) Bill – to decouple local and Scottish Parliament elections following the spoiled ballot paper debacle in 2007 and subsequent Gould investigation.[28]
Sexual Offences (Scotland) Bill – to consolidate and clarify the law on sexual offences, largely in line with the Scottish Law Commission report (commissioned by the Scottish Executive in 2004, in part to address Scotland’s low conviction rates for rape offences). Particular attention is given to the boundary between rape and sexual assault, sexual offences against children, sexual offences committed by young children (and in which venue they should be prosecuted) and consensual sexual activity between older children.

Scottish Government Bills in Progress:
Arbitration (Scotland) Bill
Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill
Interpretation and Legislative Reform (Scotland) Bill
Marine (Scotland) Bill
Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill
Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Bill
Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Bill

Members’ Bill Passed:
Offences (Aggravation By Prejudice) (Scotland) Bill (Patrick Harvie, Green, supported by the Scottish Government) – to extend existing provision for aggravated offences (racial or religious prejudice is already covered) to a victim’s actual or presumed sexual orientation, transgender identity or disability.[29]

Members’ Bills in Progress[30]
Control of Dogs (Scotland) Bill

3.10 Sewel (Legislative Consent) Motions passed (20 May 2009 – 25 September 2009)[31]

None passed.


3.2 Who Decides If Ministers are Telling the Truth? Part 3
J. Quinn 2.6.09 ‘SNP ‘did not break rules’’ The Scotsman
2.6.09 ‘Labour leader’s complaint sent to former Holyrood grandees’ The Herald
2.6.09 ‘Lord Steele and George Reid to investigate prison escape complaints’ The Times
BBC 1.6.09 ‘Inquiry into missing prisoner row’ BBC
M. Settle 2.6.09 ‘Labour leader’s complaint sent to former Holyrood grandees’ The Herald
2.6.09 ‘Lord Steele and George Reid to investigate prison escape complaints’ The Times
5.8.09 ‘Salmond cleared in prison escapes row’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 6.8.09 ‘Salmond ‘did not mislead Holyrood’ over jail abscondees’ The Herald

3.3 Political Parties and the Annual Budget
B. Currie 26.6.09 ‘Swinney announces £31m budget savings’ The Herald
21.7.09 ‘Sturgeon warns of budget cuts’ The Herald
24.7.09 ‘SNP attacks Labour’s ‘savage’ cuts’ The Herald
B. Currie R. Dinwoodie D. Henderson G. Braiden 17.9.09 ‘Outrage as Swinney swings his budget axe on Glasgow’ The Herald
17.9.09 ‘Swinney’s budget’ The Herald
D. Henderson 17.9.09 ‘Rail link project sacrificed in struggle to make ends meet’ The herald
R. Dinwoodie 17.9.09 ‘Robbie Dinwoodie: “Rail link will become the political battleground”’ The Herald
17.9.09 ‘Scottish Budget sparks ‘dodgy accounting’ row’ The Herald
R. Dinwoodie 17.9.09 ‘Scottish budget: the main points’ The Herald
17.9.09 ‘Scottish Budget: reaction in full’ he Herald
B. Currie 17.9.09 ‘Council chief attacks SNP over funding favouritism’ The Herald
G. Braiden 18.9.09 ‘SNP need a miracle to avoid a repeat next year’The Herald
A. Macleod 16.9.09 ‘Salmond and Brown clash over Scottish funds’ The Times (IGR budget)
17.9.09 ‘Draft Budget – what it means for education and skills’ Scottish Government News Release
17.9.09 ‘Draft Budget – what it means for health and housing’ Scottish Government News Release
17.9.09 ‘Draft Budget – what it means for rural affairs and environment’ Scottish Government News Release
17.9.09 ‘Draft Budget – what it means for the arts’ Scottish Government News Release
17.9.09 ‘Draft Budget – what it means for the justice service’ Scottish Government News Release
17.9.09 ‘Draft Scottish Budget 2010-2011’ Scottish Government News Release
G. Braiden 25.9.09 ‘Cash crisis city sets sights on services’ he Herald
R. Dinwoodie 25.9.09 ‘Purcell: Salmond has let my city down’ The Herald
G. Braiden 25.9.09 ‘How Glasgow plans to meet the challenge of big squeeze on its budget’ The Herald
D. Maddox 15.9.09 ‘£500m cuts to target health and councils’ The Scotsman
T. Peterkin 13.9.09 ‘Swinney signals public sector cuts’ The Scotsman
A. Macleod 14.9.09’ Swinney ‘confident’ over council tax freeze’ The Times
J. Allardyce 13.9.09 ‘Budget threat to SNP poll spending’ The Times
16.9.09 ‘All parties now agree savings are needed – but just where is the question’ The Scotsman
A. Macleod 18.9.09 ‘Swinney ushers in new age of austerity’ The Times
P. Jones 18.9.09 ‘Council cuts are SNP’s Achilles’ heel’ The Times
L. Davidson 20.9.09 ‘Swinney appeals for unity over Westminster cash’ The Times
J. Allardyce 20.9.09 ‘Scottish civil service faces £6m cuts’ The Times
S. Macnab 25.9.09 ‘First Minister ‘tells head of Glasgow City Council to grow up’’ The Scotsman—

3.4. Political Parties and the Conference Season
25.6.09 ‘SNP favourite withdraws from nomination race’ The Herald
D. Maddox 9.7.09 ‘SNP defends choice of candidate’ The Scotsman
L. Davidson 12.7.09 ‘SNP Glasgow North East by-election candidate stands down’ The Times
A. Macleod 8.7.09 ‘SNP activists reject ‘official’ candidate’ The Times
D. Maddox 17.7.09 ‘’Stitch-up’ as SNP’s fourth choice to fight by-election’ The Scotsman

T. Peterkin 7.8.09 ‘SNP denies electioneering at taxpayers’ expense’ The Scotsman
A. Macleod 6.8.09 ‘Salmond accused of using public funds to campaign’ The Times
10.8.09 ‘SNP accused of using civil servants for party gain’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 24.8.09 ‘SNP accused of using false data in by-election’ The Scotsman
B. Currie 4.7.09 ‘Apology demanded as SNP leaflets stray into Labour territory’ The Herald

S. Macnab 28.7.09 ‘Speaker’s old seat without an MP ‘for a record time’’ The Scotsman
G. Peev 22.7.09 ‘Labour stops bid to speed up poll for ex-Speaker’s constituency’ The Scotsman
M. Settle 23.7.09 ‘Labour’s by-election stand called ‘unacceptable’’ The Herald
22.7.09 ‘PM defends delay of Glasgow North East by-election’ The Scotsman
1.7.09 ‘Labour is accused of running scared over delay in by-election’ The Scotsman
T. Crichton 22.7.09 ‘SNP fails to bring vote in Glasgow forward’ The Herald
B. Currie 31.8.09 ‘McConnell’s Malawi posting put on hold’ The Herald

22.9.09 ‘Murphy in debate challenge’ The Scotsman
A. Macleod 22.9.09 ‘Slugger Salmond ducks out of political debate with Mauler Murphy’ The Times
A. Macleod 28.9.09 ‘SNP denies Labour call for constitutional debate’ The Times
E. Barnes 2.8.09 ‘Salmond seeks slot in TV debate for next election’ The Scotsman

G. Peev 22.9.09 ‘Mansion tax plan could lose Scotland £110m’ The Scotsman
A. Macleod 22.9.09 ‘Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott ‘makes three U-turns in one speech’’ The Times

S. Johnson 28.9.09 ‘Jim Murphy and Iain Gray launch twin attack on ‘superficial’ SNP and Tories’ The Telegraph
A. Macleod 21.9.09 ‘The unsurprising verdict on Scottish Labour leader Iain Gray’ The Times

L. Davidson 14.7.09 ‘Salmond the quarry in Labour’s new strategy’ The Times
L. Davidson 14.7.09 ‘Strengths can also be fatal weakness’ The Times

D. Maddox 29.6.09 ‘Patriotism ‘belongs to all’’ The Scotsman
29.6.09 ‘Murphy: Labour allowed SNP to ‘monopolise’ saltire symbol’ The Scotsman
L. Davidson 30.6.09 ‘Jim Murphy admits Labour allowed SNP to monopolise saltire’ he Times

E. Barnes 31.7.09 ‘SNP’s income doubles to £1.8m as the cash flows in’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 31.7.09 ‘Donations to Scottish Labour fell by 90% in just one year’ The Herald
J. Tapfield 23.7.09 ‘Labour’s election hopes boosted by £4.6m tax rebate’ The Scotsman

M. Settle 17.7.09 ‘Poll: Tory candidates ‘not uncomfortable’ with independence’ The Herald
R. Lydall ‘Cameron’s plans to cut number of MPs could backfire for Scottish Tories’ The Scotsman–
J. Quinn 27.6.09 ‘Cameron concedes Tories were wrong to oppose devolution’ The Scotsman–
A. Pierce 1.7.09 ‘David Cameron says sorry over Section 28 gay law’ The Telegarph
J. Quinn 19.8.09 ‘’Hypocrisy’ charge as Tory MSP stands for Westminster’ The Scotsman

1.6.09 ‘LibDem councillor sacked over Trump resort joins Greens’ The Herald

8.6.09 ‘We’re on to a big winner for next time, say Nats’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 9.6.09 ‘Vote on independence would be close, say polls’ The Herald
A. Macleod 8.6.09 ‘Salmond’s SNP manages to defy political gravity’ The Times
16.6.09 ‘Holyrood poll shows growing support for SNP’ The Scotsman
M. Linklater 26.6.09 ‘Alex Salmond enters summer recess with rivals still on defensive’ The Times
L. Moss 29.6.09 ‘Scots back tax hikes to boost NHS during economic downturn’ The Scotsman
S. Johnson 28.6.09 ‘Most Scots unimpressed by first decade of devolution, poll finds ‘ The Telegraph
B. Taylor 29.6.09 ‘Scotland ‘now has stronger voice’ BBC News
28.6.09 ‘Devolution backed by 41% of Scots’ BBC News
D. Maddox 1.7.09 ‘Pressure on parties to drop opposition as most Scots back independence vote ‘ The Scotsman–
30.6.09 ‘Salmond ‘more popular’ than Brown’ BBC News
S. Johnson 1.7.09 ‘More than two-thirds of Scots say devolution has achieved little’ The Telegraph
M. Settle 20.7.09 ‘Commons should adopt PR, say Scots voters’ The Herald
M. Reid 28.7.09 ‘Third of Scots unhappy with NHS, says survey’ The Times
J. Curtice 3.8.09 ‘Nats set for best result in 35 years – but little to show for it’ The Scotsman
E. Barnes 3.8.09 ‘Labour clings to slim advantage over SNP’ The Scotsman
9.9.09 ‘Poll findings ‘put Gray’s seat in doubt’’ The Scotsman

3.6 Expenses
T. Peterkin 7.6.09 ‘New questions over Salmond food claims’ The Scotsman
T. Crichton 8.6.09 ‘’ Goldie challenges Salmond to publish appointments diary’ The Herald
E. Barnes 21.6.09 ‘Salmond rejects call to open his diaries’ The Scotsman
14.7.09 ‘Parliamentary standards watchdog to examine Alex Salmond expenses’ The Times
A. Macleod 3.6.09 ‘Tories barred from questioning Salmond over food bill’ The Times
M. Linklater 2.6.09 ‘Salmond’s vague answers will not do in the present climate’ The Times
H. Macdonell 8.6.09 ‘Salmond hits back in claims row’ The Scotsman

I. Swanson 14.7.09 ‘Salmond facing probe over his ‘impeachment’ expenses’ The Scotsman
M. Settle 14.7.09 ‘Probe into Salmond’s use of expenses in bid to impeach Blair’ The Herald
A. Macleod 19.6.09 ‘MPs’ expenses: Alex Salmond’s bid to impeach Tony Blair cost £14,100’ The Times

J. Robertson 2.8.09 ‘Salmond urged to quit as MP over his pay’ The Times
3.6.09 ‘FMQs: Salmond urged to quit Westminster seat’ The Scotsman

T. Crichton 20.6.09 ‘MPs rush to repay claims ranging from £1 to £40,000’ The Herald
S. Johnson 19.7.09 ‘MPs’ expenses: Alex Salmond claims £2,000 for a letter folding machine’ The Telegraph
J. Kirkup 4.8.09 ‘MPs expenses: Parliamentary officials get large pay rises’ The Telegraph
M. Settle 11.8.09 ‘New transparency for MPs’ interests’ The Herald
M. Settle 1.6.09 ‘Brown announces body to shake up UK constitution’ The Herald
1.6.09 ‘Brown plans MPs’ code of conduct to clean up politics’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 27.5.09 ‘Blocking expense details ‘wrong’’ The Herald
15.6.09 ‘MPs being turned into ‘drudges’ by professional politics’ The Herald
M. Settle 15.6.09 ‘Second jobs could be the catalyst for fresh outcry’ The Herald
M. Settle 17.6.09 ‘Days of MPs employing family members are numbered’ The Herald
G. Peev 22.6.09 ‘MP expenses scandal ‘appalling’ says information chief’ The Scotsman
L. Davidson 21.6.09 ‘Commissioner attacks MPs for ‘passing the blame’’ The Times
S. MacDonald 21.6.09 ‘‘Look to MSPs in war on secrecy’’ The Times
E. Barnes 21.6.09 ‘Scots MPs funnelling public cash to parties’ The Scotsman
J. Gilmour 25.6.09 ‘Electoral accountability can’t be enforced by first-past-the-post voting system’ The Scotsman
J. Swaine 10.7.09 ‘MPs forced to disclose how long they spend on second jobs ‘ The Telegraph
25.8.09 ‘MPs pressure expenses inquiry for pay rise’ The Scotsman
25.8.09 ‘MPs across parties clamour for pay rise’ The Herald
L. Davidson 29.5.09 ‘Margo MacDonald is Britain’s most frugal politician’ The Times
29.5.09 ‘£36,000 bill for Lothian’s MSPs’ The Scotsman
R. Lydall 15.6.09 ‘Devine faces Labour ‘star chamber’ and election ban’ The Scotsman
H. Macdonell 8.6.09 ‘Under-fire MP claims local party support’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 9.7.09 ‘Lib Dem blow as candidate quits in fury at expenses scandal MPs’ The Scotsman

K. Dunion 21.6.09 ‘Kevin Dunion: Why Scottish system is more open than Westminster’s’ The Times
BBC 1.6.09 ‘Confidential data ‘not kept safe’ BBC
4.6.09 ‘Council’s hush-hush talks find no place in the public domain’ The Scotsman
28.9.09 ‘Secret government files to be opened to public’ The Scotsman
3.7.09 ‘Early release of information’ Scottish Government News Release

1.7.09 ‘Queen tells Scottish parliament to build on strong foundations’ The Scotsman
B. Currie 2.7.09 ‘MSPs of most parties snub Queen’s visit to Holyrood’ The Herald
A. macleod 2.7.09 ‘MSPs ‘snub’ Queen as dozens stay away’ The Times
C. Sweeney 1.7.09 ‘The many and various excuses came thick and fast’ The Times
1.7.09 ‘Queen tells Holyrood it must retain public confidence’ The Times
A. Cochrane 2.7.09 ‘Few join Queen in celebrating Scottish Parliament anniversary ‘ The Telegraph

A. Philip 4.8.09 ‘MSP’s party unity plea over wrongful death compensation’ The Scotsman–
4.8.09 ‘MSP seeks backing for bill on wrongful death payouts’ The Herald

[1] It has only been recalled in two other instances – following the deaths of Donald Dewar and the Queen Mother – Scottish Parliament News Release 20.8.09 ‘Presiding Officer Recalls Parliament’
[2] Scottish Parliament News Release 17.8.09 ‘Presiding Officer’s Statement On Request To Recall Parliament’;
[3] House of Commons Information Office (2008) EU Legislation and
Scrutiny Procedures
[4] Independent Advisers to the First Minister (2009) Scottish Ministerial Code Inquiry:
Complaint From Iain Gray MSP About First Minister’s Answers On Open Prison Absconds ; Scottish Government News Release 5.8.09 ‘Ministerial Code Inquiry’
[5] A. Macleod 5.8.09 ‘MSPs rapped over point scoring at First Minister’s Questions’ The Times
[6] See for example Scottish Parliament Official Report cols.18410-2 ; D. Maddox 6.8.09 ‘’Holyrood as bad as Westminster’ – Steel’ The Scotsman
[7] Similar claims on a different issue were made in 2001, culminating in Glasgow’s decision to leave COSLA – see McGarvey, February 2001: 41-2.
[8] H. Mcardle 17.9.09 ‘Purcell claims Glasgow has been snubbed in budget round’ The Herald; D. Maddox 25.9.09 ‘Inflation fall gives Scottish Government ‘£1bn budget bonus’’ The Scotsman;
24.7.09 ‘SNP attacks Labour’s ‘savage’ cuts’ The Herald
[9] See, for example, the 28th September 2009 edition of Holyrood Magazine.
[10] For a full list of motions and votes, see BBC News 24.9.09 ‘How MSPs voted in the parliament’
[11] J. Allardyce 14.6.09 ‘Rapid alerts for snatched children’ The Times
[12] Scottish Parliament Official Report 24.9.09 cols.19895-926
[13] Scottish Parliament Official Report 25.6.09 cols.18835-87
[14] Scottish Parliament Official Report 2.9.09 col.19162
[15] M.Russel 7.6.09 ‘Mike Russell: Holyrood’s miles better’ The Times; H. Macdonell 23.6.09 ‘Shamed MPs should have learned from Holyrood’ The Scotsman– Note also the evidence of Holyrood learning negative lessons when forming an agreement with the police on MSP office searches – R. Dinwoodie 26.6.09 ‘Agreement clarifies operation of Holyrood office searches’ The Herald
[16] Scottish Parliament News Release 5.6.09 ‘Independent Examination To Be Carried Out On Holyrood’s Expenses System’
[17] P. Hutcheon 8.8.09 ‘Salmond backs scheme to force MSPs to repay second home profits’ The Herald
[18] J. Allardyce 7.6.09 ‘‘Recall’ plan could see unwanted MSPs ousted’ The Times

[19] Scottish Parliament News Release 23.6.09 ‘Committee discovers disturbing evidence of under-5s with mental health issues slipping through the net’
[20] Scottish Parliament Official Report 21.5.09
[21] Scottish Parliament News Release 11.6.09 ‘Transport Scotland Criticised Over Serious Governance Failures’; Scottish Parliament News Release 24.6.09 ‘Committee Convener Requests Auditor General Probe Into Rail Franchise Passenger Figures’
[22] B. Currie 23.6.09 ‘Holyrood call for review of bonuses’ The Herald; H. Macdonell 23.6.09 ‘MSPs call for end to big public-sector bonuses’ The Scotsman
[23] R. Dinwoodie 12.8.09 ‘Labour petition on knives goes to Holyrood’ The Herald
[24] 30.6.09 ‘Report recommends Holyrood spending alert’ The Herald
[25] Scottish Parliament News Release 24.9.09 ‘Parliament Creates Financial Scrutiny Unit’
[26]Excluding most annual reports, financial memoranda, budget reports (which are brought together by the Finance Committee’s stage 2 report) and reports on subordinate legislation (which can be tracked more systematically on the committee webpage). From this edition the lists also exclude reports on legislative consent memoranda (these can be tracked more easily from the Scottish Government’s own records – and stage 1 reports on proposed legislation (these can be tracked more easily in the Scottish Parliament’s bills section – In other words, the focus of this list is on non-routine publications such as committee inquiries conducted at their discretion. For the committee issues that the Scottish Parliament chose to publicise, see
[27] K. Wright (2009) Climate Change (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3, SPICe briefing, 09/43; BBC News 23.6.09 ‘Climate change targets ‘tougher’’
[28] The move is also consistent with proposals originally made in the McIntosh, Kerley and Arbuthnott Reports – see S. Herbert (2009) Scottish Local Government (Elections) Bill, SPICe briefing 09/21
[29] See G. Ross (2009) Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice0 (Scotland) Bill, SPICe briefing 04/41
[30] For a list of Members’ Bill Proposals see
[31] A full list of motions and links to SPOR discussions is provided by the Scottish Government (but note that it lists all potential motions rather than those proposed and passed)

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The Release of the Lockerbie Bomber

This is the introduction to the Scotland Devolution Monitoring Report
September 2009 but with added references. For the full reports see

The decision by Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to release the Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, from Greenock Prison on compassionate grounds stands out as the major event in this period.[i] Indeed, it is difficult to think of any other ‘Scottish’ issue that would command such international attention or prompt so much analysis on the SNP’s governing competence on the world stage.[ii] The issue is multi-faceted and still unfolding in the public domain. As such, we have witnessed a classic media process in which attention lurches from one aspect of the story to another.[iii] In July, when much less was known (and there were rumours that MacAskill was ‘minded’ to release him[iv]), an administrative focus on how MacAskill conducted his inquiry was followed by claims that he would struggle to meet the deadline for a decision[v] and that much depended on whether or not al-Megrahi would drop his appeal[vi] (al-Megrahi has since protested his innocence[vii]). We then had a period considering the extent to which MacAskill would be subject and vulnerable to a wide range of political pressure, from domestic media coverage (of the families of victims, members of the emergency services) to public opinion, opposition parties and international representations (particularly from the US, with figures such as US senators, the FBI director Robert Mueller and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton highly vocal on the issue) against al-Megrahi’s release[viii] (with some speculation about reverse pressure from the UK Government to allow his release as a way to foster closer economic and political links between the UK and Libya).

Other periods focused on how this relates to wider forms of parliamentary political pressure on MacAskill following the recent prospect of a vote of no confidence in Parliament (although 3.1 shows that the Scottish Parliament only became involved formally after the decision was made)[ix] and how Scotland would look on the world stage. Then came the decision and an extended period of discussion on MacAskill’s reasons for al-Megrahi’s release. More could have been made of the Scottish-UK intergovernmental issue had MacAskill agreed to Megrahi’s release under the UK-Libya prisoner transfer agreement devised in 2007, particularly since Alex Salmond was highly critical of then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s involvement in the agreement and the absence of FCO consultation with the Scottish Government. However, if anything, the lack of Scotland-UK contact seemed the bigger issue.[x] Instead, MacAskill released Megrahi on compassionate grounds, based on a principle in Scots law that prisoners should be eligible for compassionate release if they are terminally ill and close to death. This allowed him and Salmond to present a narrative based Scottish ministerial autonomy, leaving others to explore the degree of external interference. Indeed, a consistent focus throughout was on the extent to which this was a Scottish rather than a UK decision, and it became clear very early on that the UK Government was eager to be seen to take a hands-off role, respecting the principle of executive devolution. This appeared to backfire on Prime Minister Gordon Brown personally when he was roundly criticised for making no comment at all,[xi] particularly given the extent of the rumours about deals done (‘in the desert’[xii]) between the UK and Libyan Governments over business contracts (and, to a lesser extent, concerns about links between the decision and terrorism[xiii]).

So far, although the decision initially appeared unpopular with Scots and potentially damaged the SNP’s electoral chances, it has not undermined the status of the minority Scottish Government. Neither has it produced significantly greater pressure for MacAskill (already under parliamentary pressure over such issues as knife crime and court reforms[xiv]) to resign as Justice Secretary. Much opposition party criticism has focussed on MacAskill’s handling of the case, including not only his decision to visit al-Megrahi in prison[xv] but also his reliance on particular sources of medical advice to determine the severity of his cancer[xvi] and the amount of time he had to live, and his rejection of other solutions related to compassionate release (including the prospect of housing and policing al-Megrahi in a care home or hospice in Scotland[xvii]). Some eyes have also been raised when MacAskill’s initial speech made reference to the links between compassion and religion. Yet, there was not a meaningful call for MacAskill’s resignation. In part, this is because Alex Salmond went at great lengths to publicly back MacAskill[xviii], if need be by releasing official documents[xix] (and because many figures, including Nelson Mandela, supported the decision).[xx] The SNP’s position was also helped by growing criticism of the role of the UK Government.

Al-Megrahi’s welcoming reception in Libya (with much of the crowd waving Saltires[xxi]) threatened to stoke up the issue further and, for a short period, the international reaction was intense,[xxii] even extending to some US campaigns to punish Scotland economically.[xxiii] US President Obama was also said to be ‘disappointed’ by the decision. Yet, there are now signs that attention has moved on and that initial reactions have been tempered.[xxiv]

[i] 20.8.09 ‘Lockerbie: Al Megrahi to be released on compassionate grounds’ The Scotsman
20.8.09 ‘Lockerbie: MacAskill hits out at actions of UK government’ The Scotsman
20.8.09 ‘Lockerbie: Kenny MacAskill’s statement on Al Megrahi’s release in full’ he Scotsman–
1.9.09 ‘Lockerbie decision’ Scottish Government News Release
24.8.09 ‘Statement on Lockerbie bomber’s release’ Scottish Government News Release
20.8.09 ‘Lockerbie prisoner released’ Scottish Government News Release
24.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber debate – as it happened’ The Scotsman–
[ii] A. Cochrane 17.8.09 ‘Scotland is finding the big fish harder to handle’ The Telegraph
M. Linklater 18.8.09 ‘A disastrous debut on the world stage’ The Times
A. Carmb 23.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber’s release ‘damaged Scotland’s standing’’ he Telegraph
[iii] See Trench, September 2007: 47 for a discussion of Alex Salmond and the Scottish Government’s criticism of the UK Government decision to sign a prisoner transfer agreement with Libya.
[iv] C. Sweeney 5.8.09 ‘Release closer for Lockerbie bomber’ The Times
D. Maddox 17.8.09 ‘Hopes dashed for in-depth inquiry into Lockerbie’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 18.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber ‘has been sending home belongings for past six weeks’’ The Scotsman
S. Carrell 19.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi to be freed’ The Guardian
E. Barnes 12.8.09 ‘Government rejects claims Lockerbie bomber set to be released’ The Scotsman
[v] C. Sweeney 5.7.09 ‘MacAskill holds talks over fate of Lockerbie bomber’ he Times
1.8.09 ‘MacAskill unable to meet deadline on Megrahi appeal’ the Scotsman
1.8.09 ‘Justice Secretary will not meet Megrahi deadline’ The Herald
[vi] A. Philip 24.8.09 ‘’Political influence over legal cases is a weakness’’ The Scotsman
23.8.09 ‘Hans Kochler: ‘I strongly suspect he was pressurised into dropping appeal’’ The Scotsman
C. Sweeney 19.8.09 ‘Edinburgh clears way for Lockerbie bomber Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi’s move to Libya’ The Times
21.8.09 ‘Crown drops Lockerbie appeal’ Scottish Government News Release
A. Macleod 31.8.09 ‘I suspect deal over al-Megrahi appeal, says former ambassador’ The Times
[vii] L. Adams 18.9.09 ‘Law chief condemns Megrahi’ The Herald
25.8.09 ‘Megrahi: ‘MSPs must do more to probe the decision’’ The Scotsman
[viii] T. Peterkin 5.7.09 ‘Lockerbie relatives to demand Megrahi stays in Scots jail ‘The Scotsman
C. Sweeney 6.7.09 ‘Do not set ‘guilty’ Lockerbie bomber free, detectives plead’ The Times
R. Dinwoodie 11.8.09 ‘Lord Advocate: no political interference in bomber case’ The herald
L. Davidson 17.8.09 ’ Kenny MacAskill gives in to US pressure over Lockerbie bomber’ The Times
18.8.09 ‘US senators urge MacAskill to keep Lockerbie bomber in prison’ The Scotsman
17.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber’s release ‘delayed by pressure from Hillary Clinton’’ he Times
A. Spillus 18.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bombing: seven US senators urge Scotland not to release Megrahi’ The Telegraph
L. Davidson 17.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber’s case is a lesson in how to lose friends’ The Times
M. Linklater 13.8.09 ‘Compassion for the Lockerbie bomber, agony for the families’ The Times
J. Allardyce and M. Macaskill 16.8.09 ‘Majority do not support Megrahi release’ he Times
17.8.09 ‘MSP demands Megrahi debate’ The Herald
L. Davidson 17.8.09 ‘No recall for MSPs over Lockerbie bomber’ The Times
17.7.09 ‘Scottish Government under pressure to recall Parliament over Lockerbie decision’ The Times
24.8.09 ‘MSP anger’ The Scotsman
I. Swanson 21.8.09 ‘Margo calls for answers as Megrahi returns to Libya’ The Scotsman
I. Swanson 24.8.09 ‘Salmond facing confidence vote over Megrahi release’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 25.8.09 ‘MacAskill defends decision as rivals fail to land blows’ he Herald
J. Swaine and A. Cramb ‘Kenny MacAskill to face furious MSPs over Lockerbie bomber release’ The Telegraph
24.8.09 ‘Minister stands by bomber release’ BBC
26.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber: Tories accuse MacAskill of misleading public’ The Scotsman
25.8.09 ‘Iain Gray: MacAskill ‘should publish notes of Megrahi meeting’’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 25.8.09 ‘MacAskill defends decision as rivals fail to land blows’ The Herald
A. Macleod 26.8.09 ‘MacAskill ‘misled’ MSPs over al-Megrahi release’ The Times
D. Maddox 3.9.09 ‘MSPs say bomber release was wrong’ The Scotsman
R. Dinwoodie 22.9.09 ‘Holyrood to hold inquiry on release of Megrahi’ The herald
M. Linklater 24.8.09 ‘Analysis: the phrase that could haunt Kenny MacAskill over Lockerbie decision’ The Times
S. Carrell 25.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber decision leaves SNP facing censure from furious opposition’ The Guardian
A. Macleod, S. Jagger and R. Kerbaj 24.8.09 ‘Lockerbie release could topple Scottish government’ The Times
R. Dinwoodie 26.8.09 ‘LibDem rebels are likely to kill off censure motion’ The Herald
D. Maddox 25.8.09 ‘MacAskill to survive as MSPs back off key vote’ The Scotsman–
T. Peterkin 23.9.09 ‘MacAskill faces probe over Megrahi’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 9.9.09 ‘Full inquiry to be held on Megrahi’ The Scotsman
[x] 18.9.09 ‘Megrahi release highlights ‘immature’ relationship between governments’ The Herald
P. Reynolds 30.8.09 ‘Megrahi freed: Some answers’ BBC
[xi] 21.8.09 ‘Lockerbie: Miliband refuses to say whether he agrees with MacAskill over bomber’s release’ The Scotsman
J. Swaine 23.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber release: pressure mounting on Gordon Brown’ The Telegraph
24.8.09 ‘Lockerbie release: Gordon Brown should tell us what he said to Colonel Gaddafi’ The Telegraph
25.8.09 ‘Pressure mounts on Brown to give his views of release’ The Scotsman–
S. Coates 24.8.09 ‘Downing Street says Lockerbie release is too sensitive to comment on’ The Times
M. Settle 25.8.09 ‘Brown under fire over ‘cowardly silence’’ The Herald
24.8.09 ‘Lockerbie release: Gordon Brown should tell us what he said to Colonel Gaddafi’ The Telegraph
J. Swaine 24.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber release: Gordon Brown silence ‘absurd’, says Nick Clegg’ The Telegraph
A. Porter 23.8.09 ‘Analysis: Gordon Brown is strangely reluctant to rush back to handle this crisis’ The Telegraph
25.8.09 ‘Dominic Lawson: The Prime Minister’s silence over Lockerbie is eloquent’ The Independent
T. Crichton 26.8.09 ‘Evasive Brown leaves himself open to ridicule’ The Herald
S. Coates 26.8.09 ‘Gordon Brown ‘damaged the UK’ by ducking questions over Lockerbie bomber ‘ The Times
J. Booth 25.8.09 ‘Gordon Brown finally breaks silence on Lockerbie to condemn Libya’ The Times
S. Coates 27.8.09 ‘Jack Straw is first British minister to question Lockerbie bomber’s release ‘ The Times
P. Riddell 28.8.09 ‘Brown is wrong to say al-Megrahi’s release is a matter for Scotland’ The Times
S. Jagger and T. Baldwin 30.8.09 ‘Downing Street approved Lockerbie bomber deal’ The Times
M. White and S. carrell 30.8.09 ‘Jack Straw denies allegations he gave green light to release Megrahi’ The Guardian
30.8.09 ‘Straw ‘backed down’ over Megrahi’ BBC
1.9.09 ‘Brown ‘opposed bomber jail death’’ BBC
1.9.09 ‘Libyan minister piles new Lockerbie pressure on Brown’ The Independent
M. Settle 9.9.09 ‘Brown accused of demoralising Labour over Megrahi affair’ The Herald
P. Wintour and S. Carrell 2.9.09 ‘Gordon Brown finally admits support for Lockerbie bomber release’ The Guardian
C. Woodhouse 12.9.09 ‘Brown ‘raised release of bomber during Obama call’’ The Scotsman
10.9.09 ‘Barack Obama tells Gordon Brown of ‘disappointment’ over Lockerbie release’ The Telegraph
A. Porter 24.8.09 ‘Gordon Brown ‘cowardly’ over Lockerbie bomber silence’ The Telegraph
25.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber: Gordon Brown denies he had role in Megrahi’s release’ The Telegraph
A. Woodcock 28.9.09 ‘Megrahi interference would have been a mistake – PM’ The Scotsman
S. Jagger and T. Baldwin 30.8.09 ‘Downing Street approved Lockerbie bomber deal’ The Times
R. Hawkins 24.8.09 ‘Brown’s Lockerbie release dilemma’ BBC
[xii] N. Watt and J. Borger 19.8.09 ‘Ministers pushed Lockerbie treaty ‘to protect oil interests’’ The Guardian
19.8.09 ‘Bomber desperate to return home as cancer reaches the terminal stage, say doctors’ The Scotsman
C. Sweeney and L. Davidson 21.8.09 ‘‘Deal in the desert’ put Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi on path to freedom’ The Times
M. Campbell 23.8.09 ‘The Libyan Ultimatum’ The Times
E. Barnes 23.8.09 ‘No ‘desert deal’ to free Megrahi says former PM’ he Scotsman
22.8.09 ‘Megrahi: deal or no deal?’ The Herald
D. Blair 19.8.09 ‘Megrahi: What price justice?’ The Telegraph
25.8.09 ‘Fate of Swiss expatriates in Libya was ominous for al-Megrahi case’ The Times
D. Maddox 28.8.09 ‘Come clean on seven UK-Libya liaisons before bomber freed, ministers told’ The Scotsman
28.8.09 ‘’No deals’ linked to freed bomber’ BBC
E. Barnes 31.8.09 ‘Analysis: Nuances are drowned out by the blunt assertion that they did a deal, so they’re all at it’ The Scotsman
T. Peterkin 29.8.09 ‘’Blair deal linked to Megrahi, but not by name’ – Gaddafi’s son’ The Scotsman
30.8.09 ‘Megrahi trade deal untrue – Straw’ BBC
E. Pykett 5.9.09 ‘Oil behind Megrahi deal, admits Straw’ The Scotsman
D. Maddox 4.9.09 ‘SNP accused of Qatar trade talks deal to free Megrahi’ The Scotsman–
J. Allardyce 13.9.09 ‘Tony Blair linked to arms trade with Libya’ The Times
T. Peterkin 16.9.09 ‘New Megrahi questions as NHS to train Libyan doctors’ The Scotsman
A. Porter 27.8.09 ‘Four Labour ministers met Libyans before bomber’s release’ The Times
P. Riddell 28.8.09 ‘Times poll: 61% think al-Megrahi release was about oil, not compassion’ The Times
[xiii] 24.8.09 ‘Lockerbie move ‘not terror boost’’ BBC News
L. Davidson 31.8.09 ‘Terror backlash’ claim undermines MacAskill’ The Times
24.8.09 ‘Lockerbie move ‘not terror boost’’ BBC News
[xiv] J. Allardyce 23.8.09 ‘Kenny MacAskill: no stranger to controversy’ The Times
20.8.09 ‘Justice secretary who has faced barrage of ‘soft touch’ accusations’ The Scotsman
L. Davidson 21.8.09 ‘Nerves show as Kenny MacAskill faces the world’s media; The Times
[xv] T. Peterkin 6.8.09 ‘Appointment with the Lockerbie bomber’ he Scotsman–
R. Lydall 13.7.09 ‘MacAskill to meet Lockerbie bomber over jail transfer’ The Scotsman
A. Macloed 27.8.09 ‘MacAskill prison visit absurd, says Lord Fraser’ The Times
[xvi] A. Macleod and M. Linklater 28.8.09 ‘New row over ‘non-expert’ cancer diagnosis of Lockerbie bomber al-Megrahi’ The Times
[xvii] A. Macleod 26.8.09 ‘Strathclyde Police ‘could have protected Lockerbie bomber in Scotland’’ The Times
27.8.09 ‘Plans drawn up if bomber stayed here after release’ The Scotsman–
A. Macleod 27.8.09 ‘SNP accused of interfering with police independence’ The Times
[xviii] C. Sweeney 23.8.09 ‘Alex Salmond hits back after FBI chief attacks Lockerbie bomber release’ The Times
23.8.09 ‘Salmond backs decision to release Lockerbie bomber’ The Scotsman
24.8.09 ‘FBI chief’s attack ‘out of order’’ BBC
[xix] N. Watt 1.9.09 ‘No 10 to publish ‘all relevant’ Lockerbie correspondence with MacAskill’ The Guardian
D. Maddox 25.8.09 ‘Holyrood seeks to reveal all documents over release’ The Scotsman
B. Currie 25.8.09 ‘Megrahi visit details to go public’ The Herald
[xx] C. Watt 25.8.09 ‘Lockerbie families round on US critics’ The herald
30.8.09 ‘Mandela backs Lockerbie decision’ BBC
C. Baillie 31.8.09 ‘Bomber’s release gets Mandela’s backing’ The Scotsman
I. Macwhirter 24.8.09 ‘MacAskill followed the letter of the law’ The Guardian
D. Maddox 26.8.09 ‘Churches call for free vote on release row’ The Scotsman
25.8.09 ‘John Curtice: Labour has to be careful in its attacks on the SNP – after all, its hands are not wholly clean’ The Independent
25.8.09 ‘Berlusconi defies his critics to visit Gaddafi for independence day’ The Times
B. Currie 25.8.09 ‘Archbishop: MacAskill decision was sign of strength’ The Herald
25.8.09 ‘Lockerbie case: When mercy is messy’ The Guardian
23.8.09 ‘A question of human rights’ The Herald
30.8.09 ‘MacAskill’s crime wasn’t to release a murderer but to disobey America’ The Herald
29.8.09 ‘Letter urges Clinton to show respect for people of Lockerbie’ The Scotsman
[xxi] 21.8.09 ‘David Maddox: Hero’s welcome is nightmare for SNP’ The Scotsman
20.8.09 ‘Lockerbie: Bomber Al Megrahi flies home to Libya’ The Scotsman
J. Chapman and I. Drury 22.8.09 ‘Gaddafi embraces Lockerbie bomber and thanks his ‘courageous friend’ Gordon Brown for releasing him’ the Dailymail
J. Cusick 22.8.09 ‘Brown backtracks on threat over hero’s welcome for bomber’ The Herald
25.8.09 ‘Libya broke promise not to celebrate Lockerbie release, says Kenny MacAskill’ The Times
25.8.09 ‘PM ‘repulsed’ at bomber welcome’ BBC
J. Cusick 22.8.09 ‘Brown backtracks on threat over hero’s welcome for bomber’ The Herrald
A. Porter 24.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber: Libya broke promise over hero’s welcome, says Scottish justice minister’ The Telegraph
[xxii] 20.8.09 ‘Lockerbie: Hillary Clinton condemns release of Al Megrahi’ The Scotsman
20.8.09 ‘Lockerbie: Conservative leader David Cameron condemns release of Lockerbie bomber’ The Scotsman
J. Booth 20.8.09 ‘Obama says release of Lockerbie bomber Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi is ‘a mistake’’ The Times
M. Linklater 21.8.09 ‘Devolution has been damaged by this act of leniency’ he Times
23.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber: Robert Mueller’s letter to Kenny MacAskill’ The Times
G. Warner 25.8.09 ‘Nice one, Kenny MacAskill… now they’re all angry with us Scots’ The Telegraph…-now-theyre-all-angry-with-us-Scots.html
B. Currie 25.8.09 ‘Only the French have faced so much US wrath’ The Herald
P. Hutcheon, Tom, Gordon and J. Cusick 22.8.09 ‘America’s rage’ The Herald
I. Stelzer 25.8.09 ‘Lockerbie bomber: A grievous blow to the Special Relationship’ The Telegraph
27.8.09 ‘Most Scots say MacAskill wrong on bomber release’ The Scotsman
29.8.09 ‘US anger at failure to discuss release plans’ The Scotsman
M. Savage 1.9.09 ‘MPs to look at effect of Megrahi release on relations with US’ The Independent
R. Winnett 15.9.09 ‘Government ‘sold its soul’ over Libya trade deals, claim police’ The Telegraph
P. Reynolds 24.8.09 ‘Britain facing Lockerbie backlash’ BBC
22.8.09 ‘America’s rage’ the Herald
D. Maddox 29.8.09 ‘Three in five Scots oppose Megrahi’s release’ The Scotsman
[xxiii] 24.8.09 ‘Senator wants bank bailout cash returned in bomber release row’ The Scotsman
C. Sweeney 24.8.09 ‘Website urges Americans to boycott Scotland over Lockerbie bomber release’ The Times
24.8.09 ‘Boycott calls over bomber release’ BBC
[xxiv] 22.9.09 ‘US ‘moves on’ after Megrahi release anger’ The Scotsman
C. Watt 21.9.09 ‘US calls a truce in row over Megrahi release’ The Herald

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