07/08/2012 Newsnight Scotland


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area around them reduces. We are out of time.


Unease now Scotland tonight: a house of Commons committee says


that the legal authority for a referendum must end with Miss --


and must rest with Westminster. But cant MPs change the law if they


want? And exam results are sinking in. Can we be sure that further are


higher education is necessarily the best step for everyone?


The house of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee has


published a report suggesting that there is overwhelming evidence that


holding an independence referendum would be beyond the current powers


of a Scottish parliament. Any attempt, they say, would end in


legal wrangling through the courts. A special order, a section 30


notice could be issued. I was beat the committee's chairman,


Ian Davidson MP. But Andrew Tickell also told us that there was no


argument that it would be legal for her Holyrood to hold a referendum.


There is a lack of case law in terms of the constitution which


makes it clear that the powers are either out with -- are bedecked


with are in it. What the Scotland Act does and says it is that


Holyrood has power over everything that is not reserved to Westminster,


and every argument against this is that it is absolutely clear. It is


by no means clear -- as as clear as he claims. There is the persuasive


argument that it is contrary to the Parliament Act to have fun


referendum on independence. I am joined by Ian Davidson, who


chairs their house of Commons Scottish Affairs Select Committee.


It is a fact legally that there is no lock -- knock-down argument on


either side and you could lose this in court? The overwhelming balance


of legal opinion that we received was that it is absolutely clear


that the responsibility for the constitution, the relationship


between Scotland and England, lies with Westminster. That was quite


specifically in Scotland that it was agreed by the Scottish people


in the referendum in 1997. I do understand of course that it UK


lawyer's enough, they will argue a contrary case. No lawyer that we


have come across a tall says that the Scottish Government has the


power to conduct a referendum on their own. The most that they will


say is that it is an arguable case, as you Speaker there said, which


means that it would end up being disputed in court. That is quite an


astonishing proposition to say that a lawyer's to are engaging and get


an alternative viewpoint I doing it because if you pay at lawyer enough


they will give you an alternative viewpoint. If you hire a lawyer to


fight the case for you, he will fight that case. That is the point.


The point is that there is no case law in this. You have eminent


lawyers both saying that actually this could go the other way,


because we do not have the case law on this. The point is... None of


them say that it would not end up in court if the Scottish government


tried to do it on its own. That is the point. The point is whether you


win or lose in court. No, it is not. The point is that we want to have a


speedy referendum. My side want to get this resolved, we want to have


a referendum, because we think we're going to win quite frankly.


We believe that having an agreement between Westminster and Scotland


through a section 30 notice, where there is no dispute about the


legality, is by far the best way forward. If you want that, been


legally, there is nothing to stop you tomorrow, putting in up to


process the section 30 permission. But will he do that? Of course.


Before you explain that, you must as separate out the wall back,


which you could do. You could get their section 30 order through it


any point. Or you could attach conditions, and that political


decision as were the problem lies legally. Instead of going ahead


with a legal solution, the attached conditions to it, which is a


political solution. I understand it Newsnight Scotland's position is


that the power should be given to the people. I cannot let to


continue. That is a ludicrous proposition. And I'm about to


answer you... I am asking you perfectly reasonable question that


I am entitled Ask. Of course, and I am entitled to answer. You are


suggesting that time predicated my question on a preconception...


is a general political view. That Newsnight Scotland is biased in


favour of the Scottish Parliament handling all these issues


themselves. Our position is not that. Our position is that


Westminster had been given powers to deal with that Mathur -- to deal


with the matter of the Scottish referendum. Our legitimacy comes


from the referendum. We then have legitimacy to decide how these


matters should be dealt with. We then have power if we wish to


handed over to Scotland. But we choose not to do so. Before we


continue, it perhaps might be appropriate at this stage if you


would like to apologise to me for suggesting that I have come into


this interview in any way biased against your argument Party won


political party are another. No one on this programme works in this way


and it is offensive that to suggest that. I have already complained


about the way in which Newsnight Scotland begins. I think you are


clearly biased against in the Unionist parties and if that causes


you concern any need to realise that you are not above the fray. If


you want to stand for election do so, otherwise you should be nor


neutral. If I absolutely reject what you say there, and there is


plenty of evidence to refute that. Are you saying that you drive your


mandate from the 1997 referendum? Let us then say that people going


and the 1997 referendum had undermined whether a future


referendum conducted by their Holyrood Parliament would relate to


this, how late it possibly relate this? In 1997 there were a whole


number of things being proposed. One of which was the ongoing


relationship between Scotland and England, are Scotland and the rest


of the United Kingdom, and the responsibility for constitutional


matters. It was quite clear, because it was debated at the time,


that it should lie at Westminster. That was what was in the Scotland


Act and that is what people voted for in the referendum. Moral


authority in this matter does lie with Westminster. The chair of the


Scottish constitutional Convention is writing that if the Unionists


claimed that -- are in effect saying that only way that


Scotland's people can be sovereign is a through independence. That is


the logical conclusion of their position. It is not. My position


and the committee's agreement is that we want to see an agreement on


how the referendum should pull forward, because we believe that it


is in Scotland's interest to have this resolved as quickly as


possible. We want to have all the issues hope fully debated and


agreed between the two parliaments. But if it is not possible to reach


an agreement in the responsibility does lie with Westminster. We're


worried that those who face defeat in the referendum will try to spin


this out, either through legal Now, about 160,000 people received


their exam results today, which means the best part of million of


us have been on tenterhooks on behalf of friends or family


directly affected. I hope it went well for you, but whether it did or


didn't, it's time to be considering whether the next obvious step,


perhaps into higher education, is necessarily the best thing for you


or yours. In a moment I'll be speaking to a university leader


with a unique point of view on all this, but first, Catriona Renton


reports. Right, folks, in honour of the


Olympics we will open the envelopes together. I will do a count down.


Three, two, one. Red! Is a memory that still fills the


many of us with dread, the trepidation of opening the big


envelope. It could be an e-mail or text nowadays. Congratulations.


Pupils at in the Clyde academy went through it in front of the


television cameras. This means I can say what I want this year and


it means I will have a basis to get a good job. It is all right for me.


I want to go for mechanics after- school so I think I have done well


enough. It was like having no life. I went home and I constantly


studied. I did my homework. To many tears and tantrums but it was so


were fit, I am so proud of her. She is a star.


160,000 students in Scotland got their exam results today. Pass


rates are up again. Standard Grades are not 0.4% on last year. Highers


are up 1.8% to 76.9%. That is up 7% in the last 10 years. Advanced


tyres are also up. The Education Secretary rejected suggestions that


the exams are not hard enough. answer is tried exams yourself. I


could not pass a lot of these exams myself. I could not pass many of


them. I suspect that is true of you and many of us. This is hard work


which we should be glad of. Within the figures, some subjects have


suffered a fall in pass rates and others have suffered a rise. That


indicates that some subjects have years in which people pass and a


years in which people find it more difficult. What we are seeing is


good work in Scotland's schools. these students in Kilmarnock know


today is about celebrating their achievements. Where do these exams


really lead? Getting a job is not that easy.


Youth unemployment has reached an all-time high, almost one-quarter


are out of work. Statistically if you want to get a job, it still


appears to be the right thing to do to get a degree. 90% of graduates


that left university last year are either in paid employment or


further studies. Only 7% are assumed to be unemployed. When you


drill down deeper into those statistics, of those working,


around one quarter are only doing part-time hours and a significant


proportion are doing jobs that traditionally would not be


considered to be graduate jobs. This young entrepreneurs started up


his own business when he was 13 and he has now 22. He says higher


education is not the answer for everyone. Any body that once to run


their own business themselves, doing it is better than anything


else. We all make mistakes but they are the same mistakes were the have


the education or not. University does not know how to teach you how


to handle a customer or how to sell, these are skills you have to learn


on the job. University is great if you want to be a specialist in a


particular field but if you want to go out and be an entrepreneur,


there is not a lot you can study. If you're not ready to start your


business then education is great but if you were at this stage I was


that way you want to get out and do it, there is no benefit to it at


all. Perhaps that is just it, one size does not fit all. The Scottish


government has guaranteed every 16 to 19-year-old can get a place in


training and there is a helpline to give them a hand.


The Open University in Scotland has seen a rise of almost 50% in the


last five years in applications from students under 25. I'm joined


now by Dr James Miller, who's director of the OU in Scotland.


What do you think is behind the figures of the under 25 increase?


There is a multitude of factors contributing to this. Undoubtedly


there is the increasing competition in campers based universities which


is one of the factors. More and more young people are looking at


the opportunity of going into employment and combining that with


higher education study, through distance learning opportunities


like those at the Open University. We have seen that dramatic increase


over the past five years. Has what people want to study the change?


What is attracting people at the moment? Because of the flexibility


of the courses that are offered by the Open University, it offers a


wider choice. Over the years, these have remained broadly the same. As


well as offering the discipline, specific content knowledge, steady


inflexibly part-time also gives additional benefits to students, so


they can demonstrate to employers their resilience, timekeeping, the


ability to apply their learning in real life, as opposed to studying


and then moving into employment at a later date. Clearly this works.


The Open University has returned the highest levels of student


satisfaction in the National Student Survey since it started in


2005. No other university has been able to achieve that. A what a


drop-out rates like? He it is very difficult to identify drop-out


rates because of the way in which people learn. Some people can learn


over three years or more and some will take 12 years to complete a


degree. It is as flexible as it needs to be. You think that is a


strength of the system? It is because it allows students to adapt


their steady to their lifestyle which might be about employment but


it might be about other things. We have a number of students who are


currently competing in the Olympics and the Paralympics to have


combined that lifestyle with their study. If depending on the subject,


how valuable -- how valuable is higher education? I think it is


very valuable. What employers are looking for is very many of the


graduate qualities that higher education produces. Of course that


can be done in a variety of ways. The piece was mentioning their that


we have a very diverse sector which produces a very diverse set of


graduates which is good for the economy and it is good for Scotland.


Do you think you have an advantage where we have concerns about


graduates coming out and being overtaken by subsequent graduates


and the employers will one the ones closest to graduation, do you have


more flexibility in that system? Absolutely, they can adapt their


subject choices as well. It is about Rees killing. Thank you very


much. Now a quick look at tomorrow's


front pages. So Chris Hoy is everywhere. The


Daily Mail is liaising with Chris Hoy triumphing again. He is


Britain's greatest ever Olympian. He is also on the front page of the


Scotsman. The Guardian also have Britain's golden games, the biggest


gold medal haul since 19 oh wait. The Herald is going its own way


with the sports tycoon Mike Ashley who is buying a stake in Rangers.


That's all from me. If you want to see the programme again it's on the


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