Scotland the grave

A mixed bag this week, though on the whole a gloomy one.  Firstly, Alex Massie casts his sceptical eye over the possibility of a Lab-Lib coalition at Holyrood after May.  He warns that “the campaign will be a depressing auction between Labour and the SNP who will compete to promise greater levels of heroic resistance to evil London. It will not be an elevating campaign.”  Dispatches from Paisley is just as pessimistic: “It is more likely that Labour will win by attacking the SNP’s record in office, than by unveiling some sort of popular policy initiative, like the Lib Dem’s £10,000 tax threshold which was simple and showed common sense.”  Hard to disagree with any of that, but he lightens the mood a little with a suitably sardonic take on the publication of a Scottish Who’s Who.

Mike Richie has a very welcome dig at bureaucratic jargon.  (If only, I would also suggest, David Miliband had read it in time.)  So we might agree about saving English, but Alasdair Mac Gill-eain at Bella Caledonia shows there is much less agreement about the need to save Gaelic, though he argues passionately and persuasively that we must.  Linguistic heavyweight Lallands Peat Worrier continues this theme with a wider musing on the tension between oral traditions and modern literacy.

He also offers a discussion of the Scottish Parliament’s deliberations on assisted dying that, almost uniquely, treats this complex subject – so often reduced by each side to a petty imputation of bad faith by the other – with the seriousness it deserves.  To its credit, the piece is not soundbite-friendly, but perhaps this quote will give a flavour: “If the godless feel vexed by the persistent belief in divine ontologies of God, saints, angels, divine sons and so on – feel put upon by the unwelcome figuration of sin being imputed to their lives – imagine the reciprocal difficulty the pious must have with atheistical empty cosmological space.”  Fellow non-believers might wish more atheists, instead of cheaply belittling religion, thought and wrote like this.

Elsewhere, Lenathehyena points out the hypocrisy of Aberdeen City Council cutting services for the elderly and disabled while raising the Chief Executive’s salary and borrowing hundreds of millions for ego-massaging projects like Ian Wood’s Memorial Park.  Speaking of the Granite City, Aberdeen Events and Flares n Seagulls both give us the lowdown on what’s on there.

Continuing the good old pessimism, Better Nation explains why AV is a poor compromise between FPTP and full PR, Suitably Despairing bemoans the Scottish Government’s “increasingly unambitious” climate change targets, and Adam Ramsay at Bright Green Scotland neatly tells the story of how the left has lost (“the right have played a blinder”) though, on the deficit, admits he “literally can’t work out what the problem is”.  Stuart at Scottish Socialist Youth has a very thoughtful piece on how an unholy alliance of neoliberal right and postmodernist cultural left has warped our understanding of the true, grim nature of prostitution.  Subrosa is uneasy about the growth of halal meat, and BellgroveBelle bemoans the lack of baby changing facilities at the City Chambers (despite, I seem to recall from a distant Doors Open Day, having the most marble in the world outside the Vatican).

More cheerfully, Tom Harris extols the joys of conference season, while Indygal writes supportively about people coming out, with a touchingly quaint disapproval of casual swearing.  Munguin’s Republic mocks the week’s FMQ, while Subrosa has a look at the new Judiciary of Scotland website.

Some of this week’s blogs have a libertarian take on various matters of health: Freedom-2-Choose (Scotland) argues we should be wary of official claims about the health benefits of the smoking ban, A Burdz Eye View mocks the Scottish Government’s attempts to get us to consume more Vitamin D, and offers some alternative suggestions of her own, and In a Bun Dance protests against the convictions of two men who provided “a real alternative to costly and impersonal regulated fertility clinics”.

For those normal people out there who aren’t political obsessives, try Glasgow Podcart and Dear Scotland about local bands, Scots Whay Hae saluting a graphic novel about a soldier returning from Afghanistan, The Life Craft and Beavers at Bamff promoting a couple of worthy causes, or a football podcast at The Terrace.  View from the Stalls has a handy rundown of what’s coming up in theatres around central Scotland, The Thumbcast offers a “grumpy, shambolic, sometimes legally dubious and occasionally inaudible” pop culture podcast, while Misssy (sic) M gives us the immortal line: “My mum once confessed that she and another teenage friend invited another girl with them on holiday mainly because she had sores on her legs that needed lancing every couple of days.”

Teddy has some very funny and almost certainly defamatory things to say about (among others) David Beckham.  His deconstruction of the mathematics of three-in-a-bed is, I think it’s fair to say, unprecedented.  Perhaps the only line I can safely quote is: “So the next time someone tells you that what you’ll be attending is a sombre occasion, why not rock that funeral or memorial service with your best sombrero? It’s only right.”

Finally, Planet Politics has an interesting piece (including a clever send-up of Animal Farm) on why the success of Westminster bloggers in joining the MSM establishment hasn’t been replicated in Scotland.  (One of the few bloggers to achieve Scottish MSM recognition, The Universality of Cheese, has, for once, a post that’s nothing to do with politics at all.)  PP quotes the man behind the now-defunct SNP Tactical Voting as saying: “Let’s face it, blogging is enjoyable but irrelevant, self-indulgent but inconsequential.”  And on that happy note, till next week!


  1. I would like to point out that the blog mentioned as “Freedom 2 Choose” should be “Freedom 2 Choose(Scotland)”, otherwise thanks for the link.