Agenda – Scottish News

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The breaking story this morning is that opponents of a single police force for Scotland – the policy of the SNP Government and the Labour Party – are saying that policing should be done at an even more local level with a force in each of the 32 local authority areas.

Think-tank Reform Scotland says such a structure would make the police more accountable, and the existing eight police authorities are a hangover from the old regional council days.

The BBC quote Alison Payne, one of the report’s authors, as saying: “Instead of one police chief accountable to central government, we want police chiefs accountable to local communities, while strengthening the role of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency will mean that there is greater capacity for providing co-ordinating and supporting roles from the centre.”

According to a Scottish government spokesman said: “A consultation on the future of Scotland’s police service closed last month and the responses will be published in due course. These responses, together with the developing evidence, will be taken into account.”

In sport, the Andy Murray saga continues with his French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal due on court this afternoon. It’s a mighty task for Murray to beat the Spaniard, but given recent matches, we can at last expect a rollercoaster of a game.

Racing – Betfred bookmakers has won the bidding war for the Tote, the nationalised pool betting monopoly. Owner Fred Done paid £265 million for something that many people consider did not belong to the UK Government anyway.

The Oaks takes place at Epsom today, and Frankie Dettori will carry the heavy burden of Newsnetscotland.com’s fiver as he attempts to win a second Classic aboard the Godolphin stable’s Blue Bunting, who won the 1,000 Guineas last month.

MEDIA DIGEST

Most tabloid attention is given to the story of Ryan Liddell, who was shot in the arm but survived the Dunblane massacre, being convicted on a charge of attempting to rape a 76-year-old woman.

As part of what appears to be a continuing series of defence-related stories, The Scotsman leads on a plan for the Royal Marines to quit their base at Arbroath as part of the UK Government cuts to the services.

WHO IS TELLING WHAT WHOPPERS?

Interesting difference of opinion about yesterday’s First Minister’ Questions.  Under a headline about ‘Vintage Alex Salmond, but who will stop him telling whoppers’ The Scotsman’s political correspondent Scott McNab reports that Salmond was ‘allowed to ramble on’ and that he angered opponents by ‘refusing to answer questions’.

Brian Taylor, Scottish Political Editor of the BBC, states this in his blog:

“Mr Gray proved that there remains a significant role for the opposition, even in these majoritarian days. His questions were persistent and to the point. He summoned a series of issues: the closure of the Elsie Inglis home in Edinburgh; the financial problems besetting Southern Cross, the largest private sector provider of care; the spending cuts at the care inspectorate.

“Then he drew these together neatly to challenge the first minister to produce a coherent, governmental response. Mr Salmond, as you would expect, rose to the challenge.

“The situation at Elsie Inglis had been dealt with speedily; the authorities stood ready to assist residents if the Southern Cross problems increased; the inspectorate was providing wide cover across Scotland, with unannounced investigations now the norm.

“It was a substantive series of exchanges – delivering real information on a highly relevant topic. What’s more, it ensures that Mr Salmond and his ministers will keep right on top of the problem. Job done.”

Both suggest the issue which provoked the opposition into cat-calling was that of the Supreme Court.  Readers of newsnetscotland.com can check what Mr Salmond actually said in our report “First Minister  defends independence of Scots Law.”

We are left wondering how two journalists can cover the same political event and give two entirely contrasting views and conclusions about what transpired.   Answers on a postcard please….