07 Nov News in Scotland Thursday
The MOD has been involved in contingency planning in relation to Scottish independence and Trident, it has been claimed
Scottish News: News in Scotland – Thursday
Trident plans prove Westminster is considering independence impact, says Sturgeon
The UK government is considering plans to designate the Scottish home of Trident as sovereign United Kingdom territory in the event of Scottish independence, it has been claimed. The claims have raised the ire of the SNP which claims that they prove Westminster is examining contingency plans to cover the event of Scottish independence – something they claim not to be doing and have refused to do so in conjunction with the Scottish government. A spokesperson for the Prime Minister however has claimed that the MOD plans have not been addressed to Mr Cameron saying: “No such ideas have come to the Secretary of State or the Prime Minister”. Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Downing Street may now be denying this preposterous threat from the Ministry of Defence, but the cat is out of the bag that the UK Government must at least be examining contingencies for a Yes vote.”
Scotland’s economy fragile
Scotland’s economy suffers from continued “fragility” beset by “weak levels of domestic and consumer demand” a new business survey conducted by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has found. The survey conducted in conjunction with the Fraser of Allander Institute however reports some signs of buoyancy in manufacturing and in construction. These sectors benefit from government stimulus programmes including Help to Buy where the UK government guarantee 15 percent of a mortgage on homes worth up to £600,000. The SCC’s Garry Clark recommends that government do more to stimulate demand. He said: “the economy is continuing to bump along a path of little or no growth and further action may be required by government to stimulate demand over the course 2013.” The UK’s skyrocketing deficit is evidence that there is already a vast amount of ‘stimulus’ in the system already however there remains no discernible sign of recovery. With interest rates below real price inflation in the economy there is no incentive for businesses to save and invest in the next business cycle which erodes the real economy while taxes raised to pay for previous ‘stimulus’ projects increase the burden.
Downing Street claims hypocrisy over Salmond Saltire stunt
Prime Minister David Cameron has complained that having the Saltire flag waved behind him by First Minister Alex Salmond immediately after Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory “didn’t feel right” and Downing Street sources argued that had Mr Cameron waived the Union flag behind the first minister’s head there would have been outrage.
CURRENCY INDEPENDENCE v UNION LATEST
(International news on currency union to inform the Scottish referendum debate)
Portugal president calls for ‘national salvation’ agreement
The political crisis in Portugal has taken a new twist after President Anibal Cavaco Silva called for an urgent cross-party agreement between the governing coalition and the opposition Socialists to meet bailout conditions by June 2014 in advance of early elections being held. The development comes after high profile ministerial resignations relating to ‘progress’ on austerity cuts – conditions imposed by EU and the IMF in return for the 78bn-euro bailout the nation ‘requested’ in 2010. The Socialists had demanded a snap election be called however this was refused by Silva who argued that a second bailout would be required unless an agreement is reached on current bailout adjustments. Portugal is a member of the euro currency union.
Ireland: Emerging signs of civil unrest over bailout scam
After it recently emerged that the Anglo Irish bank lied to the government about the amount of money it needed to stave off insolvency, some Irish citizens who are having their homes and businesses repossessed and sold by banking institutions are conducting protests aimed at house auctions. One auction was forced to be cancelled with further auctions being targeted by irate citizens. See video here. Ireland is a member of the euro currency union.
UK crisis: Backlash over bumper pay award for Westminster MPs
MPs are in line for a near 10 percent pay increase to £74,000 in 2015. The pay increase was recommended by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) despite all other public sector workers having austerity pay rise cap of 1 percent. First Minister Alex Salmond commented: “Pay for MPs – and MSPs – should not rise beyond the limits of the restraints currently placed on public sector pay […] It is ludicrous to suggest that parliamentarians should be given anything beyond these norms, at a time when public sector workers are having to make do with much, much lower pay increases.” UKIP Leader Nigel Farage characterised the MP pay rise as “arrogance of the highest order”. Public sector unions immediately demanded a matching 11 percent increase for their members.
UK crisis: Royal Mail staff offered £2,000 each as privatisation sweetener
Over 100,000 Royal Mail staff will be offered up to £2,000 each today (Thursday) by Business Secretary, Vince Cable, under the controversial privatisation of the taxpayer owned postal service. Postmen and women are vehemently opposed to the sell-off with the CWU communications union warning workers will not ‘sell their souls’ for the 10 percent ‘windfall’. The sell-off is a further sign that Westminster is having to sell of state assets because the UK treasury is facing a financial crisis.
Egypt: Food supplies dangerously low as instability continues
A foreign minister from the deposed Mursi government in Egypt has warned that there is less than two months’ supply of imported wheat left in the Arab world’s most populous nation of 84 million people. The news comes as the US considers its aid to the country while Arab nations have pledged $12bn (£10.4bn) in aid to the new administration. Meanwhile tensions in Egypt continue with Mursi supporters still demonstrating.
Syria: Insurgent groups could pose “catastrophic” threat to UK, warns report
Al-Qaeda could pose a serious threat to UK security should it take advantage of the fighting in Syria a parliamentary committee has warned. Supporting the US-backed insurgency against Syria’s government, Al-Qaeda, could gain access to “vast stockpiles” of chemical weapons in Syria and so represent the UK’s “most worrying emerging terrorist threat” according to the Intelligence and Security Committee’s (ISC) annual report which cites expert opinion from intelligence chiefs. ISC report warns that: “There is a risk of extremist elements in Syria taking advantage of the permissive environment to develop external attack plans, including against Western targets,”