A week of firsts

Welcome to this week’s roundup. Over the past seven days we have gained a much fuller picture of how Scotland will be governed over the next four years.

And, if you wish to swallow the nationalists’ line, it’s just been one historic day after another. Will Patterson tots up the firsts.

Alex Salmond is now First Minister. Calum Carr couldn’t be more delighted.

I voted SNP for the first time at the elections two weeks ago primarily because they were the vehicle most likely to turn over Labour. Although my politics lie mostly to the left of Labour I couldn’t vote Labour: I, like many others felt, the need for change was crucial.

Meanwhile, Mr Eugenides feels the hand of history. But…

…the joy of inveterate Tories like me that Labour have been turfed out of office must be tempered by the realisation that socialism has merely been replaced by Nationalist socialism. There’s every chance that the Nats will be every bit as bad – if not worse.

This brings us towards that old chestnut again: are the SNP on the left or the right? Kevin Williamson celebrates the SNP’s ascent to power, saying that the left should rejoice:

Maybe not on its full economic agenda, but on its democratic, social, and internationalist agenda – e.g. national liberation, anti-war, for nuclear disarmament, against nuclear power, for a radical environmental agenda, against the inhumane treatment of asylum seekers, for the abolition of student loans, and for smaller class sizes at schools – this is as leftist as it has got anywhere in Europe in recent times.

Did you see that picture? On that Salmond / Che Guevara mashup t-shirt, David Farrer isn’t rejoicing so much:

If the SNP really wants to encourage a prosperous and free Scotland it’s a bit silly to associate itself with someone who impoverished his own country both economically and in terms of civil liberties.

And in the comments there, Bill Cameron is worried about “populist posturing” from Alex Salmond.

Korakious probably wouldn’t agree with any of the above.

While it maybe true that since, unlike Labour, the SNP doesn’t have deep roots in the working class, its right wing trajectory will definitely lead to its support plummeting, thus opening up space for the left, it might well be the case that SNP will use its minority position as an excuse for not pushing through with its progressive policies…

There has been lots of talk about the SNP’s slimmed-down approach to government. Richard Havers doesn’t know what to make of the new portfolios, asking why the climate change and energy, and transport and tourism haven’t been put together.

Caron wonders if John Swinney will have enough time to manage his portfolio.

Richard Thomson has yet another theory as to why the Lib Dems refused to negotiate. Is there a power struggle inside the Scottish Lib Dems? Any why did they put forward two candidates for Deputy Presiding Officer?

Ah yes, the Presiding Officer. Incredibly, four MSPs managed to spoil their ballot papers. We had better be careful — we will get a reputation for being a nation that can’t even fill in a simple ballot paper without completely bollocksing it up. Holyrood Watcher has this from an anonymous MSP.

And in yet another demonstration of just how tight the election was, and the implications that is having, SNP MSP Angela Constance will be going on maternity leave this year. The SNP and Labour would then be tied in Holyrood. Holyrood Belle notes just how much Labour are desperate for this sort of situation to happen. Almost going as far as wanting an SNP MSP to die?

They might be desperate for any luck they can get anyway, as David Hutchison notes that Labour might have to sharpen up their act. They’re not used to being in opposition, and they’re not used to the workings of the Parliament — because the Civil Service did it all for them in the past.

Bookdrunk laments the resurrection of the proposal to make MPs exempt to the Freedom of Information act. It’s one rule for us, and it’s nearly another for them, as the bill has moved on to the House of Lords.

Transparency is the parent of accountability, and it’s embarrassing that this bill should still be floating around Parliament like an unflushed turd.

Speaking of brown, Shuggy is annoyed about the PM-in-waiting’s rhetoric.

But what about the current PM? Gus tackles ten popular myths about Tony Blair.

Do you think there are too many quangos in Scotland? Richard Havers’s blog might be one to keep an eye on, as he is starting Quango Watch.

Talking of wasteful quangos, Grant Thoms has a bone to pick with Cosla.

Agentmancuso has made a return to the blogosphere this week, with a couple of posts about nationalism, religion and whether the Irish model is really one that should be followed.

This week, Steve is Angry about the SNP–Green coalition, calling it a “vote for Luddism”. Meanwhile, Neil Craig thinks the SNP are already pandering to the “Green Luddites”.

Alex Salmond has thrown his weight behind a bid for Euro 2016. Max calls it a vanity project. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come. Vanity projects have been one of the distasteful elements of Blair’s premiership — Millennium Domes, Olympic Games with holes in the budget, etc…

Scientology has been making the news this week, thanks to that Panorama documentary. Reactionary Snob has this take on the affair.

Last weekend, a fine British institution took place: entering a dire song to the Eurovision Song Contest, then blaming everyone else when it gets hardly any points. Inquisitor derided the song by Scooch for its “single entendre “humour” attempts”.

Here is John Kirriemuir’s take on it. I agree about Terry Wogan — he gets worse every year, increasingly just saying offensive stuff without thinking. He probably imagines everyone in Britain laughing with him all the way, but my head was in my hands at points.

The best Eurovision post was by Robert Sharp, who described Brits as boors at the Eurovision party. People in Britain think that Eurovision is “meant” to be camp and cheesy, and think that everyone else in Europe, by taking it seriously, misses the point. Robert Sharp points out that it is probably we who are missing the point. On the winning song by the Serbian entrant:

…the only words Terry [Wogan] could find were to mock the “owl like” lead singer, noticing the contrast between her rather androgynous appearance and the Amazonian femininity of her backing singers. She was baring her soul for the continent, and all Terry could do was chuckle.

The smoking ban is about to take hold south of the border, so Flying Rodent offers a cut-out-and-keep guide for those beleaguered smokers who need to put up with their non-smoking friends.

“Don’t you find that it’s so much nicer coming home from the pub and not stinking like an ashtray?”

Easily dealt with and surprisingly common, all manner of non-smoking acquaintances will engage you with this classic. Simply nip to the gents, buy a pack of three and return toting the Pish Balloon.

Finally, Deacon Barry has visited Second Scotland in Second Life and likes what he sees.

I have a bit more time on my hands at the moment, so I will be getting my toolbox out and doing some work on the site over the next week or so. Don’t be alarmed if it looks different. It will mean that, at last, there will be a really simple way to nominate a post. In the meantime, please continue to nominate posts by emailing us at scottishroundup@gmail.com. Ta!


  1. The most striking feature of this week has been watching the Labour women swarm around in their gang (with the addition of Michael McMahon) while Jack skulks around on his tod. Gang warfare is alive and well at Holyrood. Something must be done!

  2. I think the best thing to come out of the election is that no party has overall control; keeps everyone on their toes and makes them all responsible for decision taking. Means less broken election promises as well.