The Vicar of Rome came to visit and can you tell an election is coming?

This is my first attempt at doing the Scottish Roundup, so I apologise in advance if it is not up to the usual standards.

The talking point of the week would have to be the visit of Pope Benedict to Scotland which caused a flurry of commentary across Scotland and the Scottish Blogosphere. New group blog Better Nation continued its high-flying start with a jointly authored provocative post about whether or not the Pope should be welcomed to Scotland or asked to pack his bags. Seraphic and Joan McAlpine blogged on their personal experiences of the Mass led by the Pontiff in Bellahouston Park and The Burd reminded us all about the role of St Ninian in Scottish history and the fact that the Papal visit included a St Ninians Day Parade.

Meanwhile, in Holyood, it was Deputy Day as the leaders were with the Queen and the Holy Father. Moridura notes that the 2010 General Election showed a large swing from the SNP to Labour as the voters fled from a potential Tory Westminster Government and that the 2011 Holyrood campaign is a Scottish Labour vs SNP campaign. Subrosa gives an insight into how the SNP will be conducting their 2011 campaign as demonstrated by the Deputy First Minister which is to basically blame Labour for the economic problems.

This essence of the campaign is highlighted by Alex Porter over at Scotlandunspun by suggesting the SNP should actually leave Westminster as part of a tactic placing the blame for the economic problems on the Union as a proxy for Labour and the Tories (one for spending too much and the other for austerity). The idea being that if the Union is blamed for the cuts then independence becomes appealing. Kenneth Joseph Murray at Newsnet Scotland writes the final word about this topic (this week anyway) by looking at the human cost of the economic problems we face and argues that green energy and fiscal autonomy means Scotland can ride out the current economic problems. Newsnet Scotland also covers the Scottish Parliament’s Health & Sport Committee examination of the recommendations from Labours Alcohol Commission.

The causes of the financial problems facing Scotland and the UK can be confusing to many people but The Burd gives clarity to the economic situation by highlighting her bellwether measures that, in fact, can be used by everyone. If I were to add my own it is the number of construction cranes I can see when I walk around Edinburgh city centre.

The SNP and Labour will not be the only parties standing in the Scottish elections and Will Paterson blogs that the Scottish Greens are targeting Scottish Lib Dem voters who are disaffected with the Westminster coalition. He urges caution however, with this approach with a detailed analysis of what would happen across a number of Constituency seats and the Regional Lists if the Scottish Greens did well.

Over at The Shoogly Peg there is a post that the Scottish Lib Dems could use to counter any disaffection by pointing out that Nick Clegg is not a two-faced sellout.

This week also saw a lot of coverage about the future of two Royal Navy aircraft carriers which are due to be partly built in Scotland including extensive work at Rosyth. Suitably Despairing blogs on this but also tells us about hopping around naked. He goes on to confess his soft spot for the Navy but does ask whether or not the UK needs aircraft carriers. He then references Caron‘s blog over at Caron’s Musing who points out the irony of Alex Salmond devoting a lot of political time trying to ensure that the UK Government builds the aircraft carriers in a place that, if he has his way, would not actually be part of the UK. He also notes that the shipyards on the Clyde and Rosyth could be in fact used to build the technology required for supporting the nascent renewables industry in Scotland.

The Labour leadership battle is almost over and Jamie Cook at Not a Westminster Village highlights how his hopes for a dramatic and exciting relationship with one of the candidates in fact became a slow burn connection that could be something special. Torn between two brothers he has plumped for the elder Miliband and sets out his belief that David can unite and energise the various wings of the Labour Party.

Politics at a local government level in Scotland is going to become even more fraught in the coming months with council finances under pressure with Edinburgh Council cropping up in three blogs. Cllr Andrew Burns states that the first public consultation on cuts was not well attended nor well received. Peter McColl at Bright Green highlights the problems Edinburgh Council is having spending £168k in Craigmillar but Cllr Cameron Rose found that a cut in the education budget would actually lead to an improved service.

However it has not been all politics in Scotland this week. Love and Garbage and Lallands Peat Worrier both blog about the ruling from Lords Hardie, Bonomy and Wheatley that appears to legalise domestic abuse and both wonder why the mainstream media have not picked up the long term legal implications of the ruling. Both blogs take what could be seen as a complicated legal judgement and make it accessible to those who are less well versed in law.

Over at the pro-smoking site Freedom to Choose, there are three posts covering health statistic correlations, health inequalities and various smoking stories.

The weather is starting to turn and Lisa-Marie wrote an excellent recipe for some seasonal cake as well as a hearty soup and tasty casserole.

Ellen seeks more support when shopping from Asda, Tesco & Sainsburys. Areas for improvement include trolley design, undearwear shape and store layout.

Seumas offers an interesting non-political insight into how the EU works blogging for the duration of his 107 day internship.

There are more touching, although for different reasons, personal blogs from meagainstthepoolswimchallenge and Abyssinia, Henry who are facing their own challenges.

We also have some good photo and design blogs from rmontalban and yeahokbye including the brand new A Glasgow Album with an already fantastic array of images from Glasgow. Aye Tunes has some good info and commentary on the Scottish music scene.

Eleanor and James Crossing Scotland Coast to Coast is a blog giving details of a fundraising kayak 100k journey by 11 year old Eleanor and her dad James. They are fundraising for Marie Curie Cancer Care and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. You can find out how to sponsor them here.

Finally, a new blogger got so annoyed at one of Scotland’s top bloggers, Tom Harris MP, that he set up his own blog just to respond. Like many bloggers though, he got hooked straight away…..

I hope that this edition meets you Scottish Round-up expectations and thanks for reading.


  1. Douglas, please note that Freedom To Choose(Scotland) is a “PRO-CHOICE” Organisation NOT a “PRO-SMOKING” one as stated in your blog.


    Eddie Douthwaite
    Freedom To Choose(Scotland)

  2. A very interesting read of reports from over the border.
    I am a member of Freedom to Choose, and would just like to mention that it is a pro-choice group rather than a pro-smoking site as many of our members are non smokers, who are fighting for the choice to have smoking facilities in social venues, rather than subjecting smokers (many are elderly) to standing out in the freezing cold weather often in the pouring rain.

  3. Hi Brenda and Eddie

    Sorry about that but in my defence I would say that there is no ‘About’ section on your blog to help me make that distinction and given the sites advocacy of buying tobacco abroad I thought it was about smoking. I shall ensure any future Roundup I write will be more accurate.



  4. Hi Douglas,

    Thanks for your reply, Freedom To Choose(Scotland) is also an Organisational member of the Cross Party Group on Human Rights & Civil Liberties at the Scottish Parliament.



  5. Brenda,

    The Blog we are talking about is Freedom To Choose(Scotland), a totally different entity from the Freedom2Choose you belong to.