Hi folks! This has been one of those weeks where the basic idea is that we ought to expect the unexpected. Labour, the LibDems and Tories all agreeing on the constitution? A line of people begging to sup from the poisoned chalice that is the Speaker’s Chair? Next you’ll be telling me that Celtic and West Brom have agreed compensation for Tony Mowbray…
Anyway. The big moment of Scottish politics this week came with the unveiling of the Calman Report. Lallands Peat Worrier dissects it with forensic precision for your delectation and delight. Yousuf hails it as the opening move in the 2011 election campaign (good grief, can’t we get the 2009/10 election out of the way first?), while Bernard has a few issues with the report but is broadly happy. Anne McLaughlin MSP experiences a flashback to her teenage years and suggests that full independence isn’t radical, let alone the Calman report, while Malc takes a look at the proposal for MSPs to make clear their opinion that any Bill they propose is within Holyrood’s competencies, without the need for backup. Andrew Burns, meanwhile, notes the point that PR for Holyrood is now seen as a given, while Dave comes to the conclusion that there’s nothing overly earth-shattering when you measure the proposals against the status quo.
On a similar note, Caron notes something that Diane Abbott said about the Labour motivation for devolution, and she isn’t impressed.
Meanwhile, while MSPs are looking to claim powers from Westminster, the scandal regarding MPs claiming expenses from Westminster claims yet another scalp, with Labour’s star chamber de-selecting Jim Devine, MP for Livingston. Caron notes his lack of appearance in his Constituency at this time, Stephen notes that the police are now involved, while Subrosa is not exactly impressed with his reaction to deselction.
Speaking of which, his threat to force a By-Election, and the current travails facing Livingston Football Club get Stephen thinking if a “Save the Lions” candidate could appear on a ballot paper, as per the “Accies Home, Watson Away” candidate in the 1999 Hamilton South By-Election. Needless to say, he isn’t enthusiastic.
Anyway, back to the expenses saga, and it’s now the turn of Falkirk MP Eric Joyce to come under the spotlight. Caron has a few questions for him, while Bernard isn’t happy with the way he answered questions put to him on Newsnight Scotland.
Another casualty of the scandal is Kitty Ussher, MP for Burnley (the cradle of 21st Century Fascism in the UK) and now former Treasury Minister caught fiddling her second home arrangements for tax purposes. Angus Nicolson takes a look at part of her resignation letter, and wonders who she’s trying to drop in it.
Staying with the theme, BellgroveBelle is stunned at how easy the MPs find it to repay the money they’ve claimed at this time.
Anyway. The race to replace Michael Martin – the first casualty of the expenses affair – as Speaker of the House of Commons is nearing its conclusion. Frankly, I don’t know why anyone wants to touch that job with a ten-foot pole right now, but ten people do. James takes a look at what he thinks will happen; Tom Harris MP is backing John Bercow, while Jeff is backing Ann Widdecombe (shame for her that the Bercow supporter is the one with the vote, really). Bill Cameron isn’t.
Still, whoever gets the job of shepherding MPs, there’s still talk of how they get elected in the first place. Jack Deighton puts his ideas forward, while David McDonald repeats his call for the voting age limit to be lowered to 16, in light of the Scottish Government’s decision to allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the pilot Health Board elections.
But assuming we’re still using the current system for the upcoming election, the announcement by UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis that the union won’t fund the campaign of Labour candidates who favour privatisation has raised eyebrows. Chris Stephens and David McDonald both note the declaration that UNISON “will no longer feed the hand that bites” them. No one has yet picked up on the fact that you don’t feed hands anyway, or that they don’t bite.
Speaking of party politics, Cabalamat endorses the establishment of a Pirate Party in the UK, along the lines of the Swedish party which won a seat in the European Elections this month, citing their civil liberties platform.
Staying with civil liberties, Tom Harris MP defends the right of blogger Nightjack to remain anonymous (or, to be precise, pseudonymous), while Bucket of Tongues looks at the freedoms we have in the UK.
However, now that we’re on a civil liberties theme, we should take a look at the unfolding situation in Iran: Bill Cameron has the harrowing pictures of the death of one of the protesters in Tehran – this is definitely NSFW. Mr. Eugenides takes a look at the role of Twitter in the protests against the election result and the Ahmedinejad/Khamenei regime. FlyingRodent, however, is a little more jaded about even the most sought after outcome.
Staying in the Middle East, Dave is less than impressed with the manner of Gordon Brown’s U-turn over whether the enquiry into the Iraq War will be held in private.
Closer to home, Michael Greenwell notes that voters in the Republic of Ireland are about to be asked about the Lisbon Treaty again, in the hope that, this time, they give people the right answer.
John Connell reckons that the policy of letting parents choose the school their child attends isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Lis takes a look at the case of Christine Laird, who faced unsuccessful legal proceedings from her former employer, Cheltenham Borough Council, who alleged that she “fraudulently or negligently withheld” details of her history of depression.
Bucket of Tongues is horrified that a doctor in Elgin has been suspended for not referring a teenage girl being treated for an STI to a social worker.
Finally, to bring things full circle, Montague Burton has news of a rather chilly country whose local government has gained sweeping new powers from the central government to its south, which could represent a step towards full independence. No, Calman hasn’t been implemented yet, we’re talking about Greenland.
That’s a wrap for another week. Duncan is in the hot seat next week, and as always, you can send in your suggestions: drop us a line to email@example.com or fill in the dinglydell on the right. Bye-de-bye!