“It’s not crap being Scottish; the footballers just make it seem that way.” *

It’s been a busy week.

The Scottish Parliament resumed after its summer recess, marking the unofficial start of next year’s Holyrood election campaign, and the Scotland football team returned to international competition, marking the unofficial start of the ‘Reinstate Berti Vogts as Manager’ campaign.

Elsewhere in the real world, this week’s roundup contains posts on men, masculinity and ultra-cool arty calendars. It’s an eclectic mix.

The return of MSPs to Holyrood this week provoked a furious reaction to what has to be one of the biggest issues facing society today. Not reducing the deficit, fighting poverty or meeting the challenge of Scotland’s alcohol culture. No, Green MSP Partick Harvie was the voice for the thoughts of the nation when he tweeted on Monday his great disappointment that Microsoft products have been installed on Scottish Parliament computers. It can only end in tears.

If you want to keep up to date with the errant twitterings of Scotland’s political classes, I’ve posted a rundown of Scotland’s Top Political Tweeters.

But it wasn’t all railing against The Man for our elected representatives this week. In fact, rather than one big issue dominating the Scottish political blogosphere over the last week, there are no real themes which have bridged the political divides. To illustrate the point, on her blog, SNP MSP Ann McLaughin described the timetable for her week in Parliament, while Carron set out her personal manifesto for the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Labour’s Eric Joyce, meanwhile reflected on the chasm between reality and the political debate on drugs, while the Rebel has a plan to see more normal people in parliament. As if.

With the announcement at the beginning of the week that the SNP Government was not going to bring a Bill on an Independence Referendum to Parliament before next year’s election, a myriad of Independence-supporting bloggers debated the hows, whys and wherefores of the issue, mostly with each other. Calum Cashley led the way with his eminently readable treatise for Independence, while Joan McAlpine argued that the Scottish Government could bypass Holyrood and take their case directly to the people. The Burd calls for a rethink. The Lallands Peat Worrier interrogated the legal case for such a referendum, while Love and Garbage weighed in with the counter argument.

(Serious point though – where have all the Scottish Labour bloggers gone? The blogging world needs a new Kez or Yousuf to keep it balanced).

But to be honest, I preferred Love and Garbage’s posts on Hans Moretti or Morcambe and Wise.

Scotland’s football performance this week against Lichtenstein was a different type of comedy. More like John Cleese’s Basil in Fawlty Towers  – the scene gripped  the viewer with tragic, cringeworthy demonstrations of personal awkwardness that was both difficult to watch and impossible to walk away from.

‘Horror’ was a word that came up on some of the post-match posts. Rob at Left Back in the Changing Room questions Craig Levein’s approach, while Alex Massie lays the blame on the national malaise: “we tell them that they’re hopeless and yet demand they achieve great things”. At least Big Rab at the Ben Lomond Free Press made me laugh!

Alex is right – there’s something about football that encapsulates the Scottish national psyche, both the good and the bad. I suppose that’s why another couple of posts caught my eye this week.

Lallands Peat Worrier trawls the tales of the Court of Session to bring us the case of John McCormack’s dismissal from Hamilton Academical, and lays bare the culture of misogyny still prevalent in parts of Scottish life.   

Elsewhere, Ellen tells her tale of sectarianism, tribalism and football, asking: “Could someone tell me how to sort it out and explain it to the children?”.

But don’t be put off just yet with stories of grim social realism, failure in sport and sexism. Here’s the light at the end of the tunnel!

Gillian at Cocktails at Naptime has a guide to communicating with your man. It was so good, I sent a link to it in an email to my wife – who was sitting at the other side of the room  J  

Yeah…OK…Bye highlights a beautiful thing, an Ink Calendar.  Nadine takes up a challenge close to my over-worked heart in Eating My Way Around Edinburgh, and reviews Santini’s, which in my humble view is the best Sports-Centre-Changing-Room-Themed-Restaurant I’ve ever eaten in.

A group of non-profit organisations are participating in #BeGoodBeSocial, a social media get-together to be held next month in Edinburgh. Ross McCulloch sets out the inspiration (and the confirmed line up) in his tribute to #NFPtweetup.

Inspired by Missy M in Roundups passim, I’ve been spending a bit of time this week with the loveliness that is Blipfoto. I can definitely recommend it to those of you who haven’t been, even just for a look around. These are my efforts. After spending far too long looking round the site on Saturday night I had a big list of cool stuff to link to here, but as my laptop died this morning with the links inside, you’ll have to look for yourself. I promise it will be worth it.

There’s been some great stuff written and posted on the Scottish Blogosphere this week – so thanks to those of you who’ve made me laugh, cry and think! Please also accept my apologies to those of you who wrote posts which I’ve not managed to include, I lost a few links in this morning’s Great Laptop Disaster.

Happy blogging.


* Alex Massie


  1. oh my god a lot of the responses many people come up with usually are such stoner comments, now and then i wonder if they honestly read the material pieces and reports before posting or if maybe they basically skim the blog titles and publish first thing comes up. anyway, it’s satisfying to go through wise commentary here and there compared to the identical, out-of-date post vomit which i commonly observe on the internet