The Battle For Baillieston (oh, and rest of Glasgow East as well)

Hi folks! Remember when the Summer was the ‘silly season’, when hardly anything would happen and all sorts of stories would be classed as news, just to fill the void? Well, turns out we’re not getting one of those this year. The Glasgow East By-Election has seen to that.

There’s a preview of Thursday’s poll over at Reuters. There’s a prediction at Adopted Domain. Meanwhile, with predictions of victory and a ‘political earthquake’ being issued from SNP HQ, Jeff and Scott both wonder if it was wise to predict victory beforehand.

Certainly, that declaration looked a little ropey following an ICM opinion poll giving Labour a double-digit lead. Or did it? ASWaS, Mike Smithson and Anthony Wells line up to scrutinise the figures.

Elsewhere on the trail, there’s been a reaction to debates held between the candidates from the Big 4 parties. There’s an assessment at Political Dissuasion. Meanwhile, James and Adopted Domain aren’t happy with SNP Candidate John Mason’s comments over the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

Staying with the SNP Campaign, Hopi Sen has examined a picture of the SNP activists at campaign HQ, and has not managed to count the five hundred that were reported to have gone out last weekend. Though in fairness, the campaign has seen footsoldiers receive wounds: IndyGal reports on an injury to BellgroveBelle, who was out flying the flag for the party. And John Mason gets an endorsement from Julie Hepburn. He doesn’t get one from Shuggy, who also has some reflections on the notion of Annabel Goldie in a leotard while campaigning for Davena Rankin. And on the Tories, Jennifer Dunn thinks it’s a bit rich for them to be promoting health and fitness when they’re leaving their campaign leaflets in piles at the bottom of tenement stairs rather than going up and posting them into the flats.

Meanwhile, the Labour campaign has been on the receiving end of pelters as well. Guido notes a photograph showing candidate Margaret Curran MSP meeting a 93-year-old war veteran who turned out to be a 67-year-old Labour activist, while I dipped into the Holyrood Official Report and discovered that her voting record on Iraq isn’t what she claims. However, IndyGal notes that Margaret Curran didn’t know where former Glasgow East MP David Marshall’s Constituency Office was. Oh dear. Elsewhere, Mark McDonald spots a Labour leaflet that appears to be backfiring, Louise notes the plan to abandon an increase in fuel duty in the Autumn and points out that a UK Government U-turn on an unpopular policy didn’t help them to hold on in Crewe and Nantwich. Meanwhile, Alanna asks what 50 years of Labour has actually done for the East End.

On a broader note, this has been the first By-Election in which the Scottish blogosphere has been fully engaged. Andrew Burns is fascinated by the exchanges, but Duncan isn’t impressed. Neither is Stephen Glenn.

One particular row concerns this post by Kezia Dugdale, which has caught the attention of Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who Kezia alleges was asked to leave a shopping centre. Tom Harris MP notes that the incident was filmed but accused the BBC of bias for not showing it. James looks at the incident and wonders what impact it might have on the campaign and the result.

Another row brewing comes from Davie Hutchison, who is not impressed with the new blog, SNP Watch.

But this is also the first Twitter By-Election: LibDem Candidate Ian Robertson is taking advantage of the service.

In other news now, the economic downturn has caused Bill Cameron to produce a thoughtful post, while Jeff looks at the Royal Bank of Scotland’s share price, making comments that resonate with David Farrer. While Mr Eugenides looks at the possibility that Gordon Brown is now pursuing a ‘scorched earth’ economic policy.

Staying with administrations facing financial problems, Ideas of Civilisation takes a look at Aberdeen City Council’s fiscal problems and wishes that local politicians would stop blaming each other for the mess and sort it out. Andy, on the other hand, notes Labour’s attempts to blame the SNP for the problems and calls on the local party to fight back.
On the subject of local finance, Edinburgh Council Labour Group Leader Andrew Burns has a post condemning the Local Income Tax proposals.

While we’re in the Capital, A Scandal and A Disgrace notes a fall in room bookings for the Festival.

A new website, Secret Scotland, takes a look at Scottish public finances and oil money. Holyrood Watcher has a post on the Scottish Government grant to the Govan Law Centre that was awarded, un-awarded, then re-awarded. And Angus Nicolson looks at former Labour MSP for the Western Isles Alasdair Morrison being appointed to the board of MG Alba, the new Gaelic television service.

Staying with the MSM, James notes the resignation of Charles McGhee as editor of The Herald, and wonders if it’s wise to leave the paper leaderless during the By-Election. Duncan, meanwhile, wonders why technology news doesn’t get much coverage, even when it’s important.

While we’re talking about Internet-based shenanigans, Angry Steve discusses the etiquette of mailing lists. And of course, there has been navel gazing this week: Ideas of Civilisation thinks about who’s reading blogs, while Northbritain looks at how many, or rather how few, people are engaged with bloggery in Scotland.

As is often the case, crime and punishment issues get a look-in this week: Man About the House looks at the problem of banning knives outright, while Alastair looks at the fluctuation in the UK Government’s latest plans to tackle knife crime.

Meanwhile, civil liberties get a mention: Mike Smith is troubled by proposals to create a central database which logs our telephone and internet communications, while Alastair looks across the Pond to a watch list which you can’t get off once you’re on.

Speaking of civil liberties, Iain reckons his have been infringed as his status within the Scottish LibDems means that he can’t pass public comment on their Leadership Election. Caron, however, has no such problem, and is endorsing former Rural Affairs Minister Ross Finnie.

Clairwil reflects on housing provision.

If you haven’t already seen it, we draw your attention to Crap Holyrood Chat, which casts a disdainful eye over some of the more appalling examples of political banter from our MSPs.

Oh, and Alastair and Flying Rodent discuss Margaret Thatcher’s funeral plans. Would it be overly distasteful to suggest sending her to a taxidermist, then turning her into a piñata that tours the UK, offering people the chance to beat the living daylights out of her with a big stick? Probably, but it’s worth thinking about.

Finally, Bookdrunk is closing the curtain on blogging. For now.

And on that note of an ending, this is a good time to conclude this week’s Roundup. Remember that Duncan’s here with a special Glasgow East special on Thursday night, and I’m back in the hotseat next Sunday. As always you can send us your suggestions for inclusion to or fill in the twiddlythingummybob on the right. Bye-de-bye!

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