“A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed, young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people. OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk. But the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night.”
So quoth the BBC’s Andrew Marr, this week. As a snapshot of some of Scotland’s blogging efforts, if Marr’s thesis is correct, no doubt we’d find a rum-soaked series of gutter smears, anointed with language redolent of a hairy-arsed docker and critical engagement with the affairs of the day boasting all the intellectual backbone of a particularly floppy invertebrate. Andrew Reeves takes Marr’s slights somewhat personally, insisting that he’s socially adequate, at most mildly seedy, romantically connected and categorically not the ghoul in residence in his mammy’s cellar. Happily, having a thumb through what other folk have been writing about, we find plenty here to rebut jug-lugs’ smug indictment.
One of the big issues prompting lushly ire this week was the Browne review into the funding of higher education, raising the spectre of students being charged theoretically unlimited tuition fees if they wish to study in English universities. Former PPC Stephen Glenn has been courageously expressing his dissent from the new party line all week, kicking off with a post in which he articulates his strong disagreement with Nick Clegg under the telling image of Stephen signing the NUS fees pledge. Thinking through the implications of Browne for Scotland, Ideas of Civilisation asks - where are the big Scottish ideas on education funding? While at Bright Green Scotland, both Alasdair Thomson and Adam Ramsay vigorously assail the proposals.
Benighted Paul Freeman of Set in Darkness posts the conclusion of Delhi’s Commonwealth Games and the hooch-skirling, Nessie-heavy handover to Glasgow.
Dean McKinnon-Thompson detected divisions in the party before the SNP conference this week in Perth. Poacher turned gamekeeper Joan McAlpine Went-Lassie-Went to Perth and blogs from the conference, on everything from fringe events to the Fair Maid of Perth. Allan the Paisley epistler writes about how the party’s fortunes went astray in the 2010 Westminster election and offers remedies which he suggests can restore their fortunes. James Kelly thinks differently, styling it the SNP’s “away game” problem. Others have been commenting on the party’s new party political broadcast, whose soundtrack is furnished by the young band Jakil, singing “Let’s work together”. Perched judiciously atop her dry stane dyke, ane Corbie carks - right message, wrong melody, caw caw!
Scotland boasts many jaggy thistles. Marylin must be one of the few Soft Thistles in the clump. You may also be interested in the new hyper-local Craigmillar & Niddrie Media blog, run by folk from that part of the world, promising a gallimaufry of interesting material. Neil Craig analyses a response from the Scottish Government on the Forth Road Bridge, contending that:
“…the cost proposed for the Forth Bridge is still 13 times that of the similar first bridge, 1,000 times what tunnels can be & have been built for & 4,000 times what recabling would cost.”
Alan McIntosh writes at Morally Bankrupt! - a Scottish blog on debt-fuelled poverty – on the coalition Government’s cuts to consumer organisations, warning:
“…unless a new robust system of proper regulations is introduced, it may be the beginning of a new era of consumer abuse unlike anything we have seen before.”
Peter Cherbi strikes a similar note of concern.
Better Nation host a guest blog from Labour MSP John Park, who asks “Can we find a cure for asbestos-related conditions?” Kezia Dugale, who is ranked second on Labour list in the Lothians region for the 2011 Holyrood election, makes a plea to the SNP on the Edinburgh tram project.
Dundee Coonciller Fraser Macpherson writes about attempts to memorialise the 1879 Tay Rail Bridge Disaster. Andy Wightman thought feudalism was dead and wonders what the Lord Lyon King of Arms’ daffy looking pursuivants are hingin’ aboot for. Over at his Lockerbie Case blog, Robert Black enumerates some of the weel-kent faces that have signed the Scottish Parliament’s Justice for Megrahi petition. Meanwhile, the blogger formerly known as J Arthur McNumpty writes about what he styles the “brief hysteria that whirls around the Scottish LibDem blogosphere”, specifically on the issue of prescription charges and the indictment of universal benefits as governance for the rich and not the poor. On the same subject, Subrosa rounds on the Taxpayer’s Alliance’s failure to understand devolution. On more coalition schemes to cut public spending, Martin Kelly hopes that Remploy are unionised and describes plans to close its factories as a “financial assault upon society’s weakest people”. Voting down proportional representation, about-facing on tuition fees, increasing the cost of rail travel – James suggests the Liberal Democrats are buried under their own increasingly bad news.
Dear Scotland has an interview with Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian. Theatrically, the View from the Stalls review the winner of the Tron’s Open.Stage playwriting competition, Abigail Docherty’s piece set in WW1 Sea and Land and Sky. Elsewhere, Favourite Son and Oxjam Present.
As ever, the best place to start if you want to get a sense of the continuing trial of Gail & Tommy Sheridan in Glasgow’s High Court is James Doleman’s blog. In the Scottish Review, Kenneth Roy examines discrepancies in how different newspapers are reporting the proceedings, entitled the Two Trials of Tommy Sheridan. The same issues of language inspired this post from myself, on Taggart and the absence of representations of Scots legal distinctiveness on the telly and in our popular culture. When he isn’t preparing to cross-examine witnesses, Mr Sheridan had a thought or two to spare on the news that the miners have finally been liberated from their long-confinement in the Copiapó gold and copper mine in Northern Chile.
A suitably cheerful point, methinks, to end this boozy, raging, baldy, basement-whittled edition of the Scottish Roundup. Do please nominate any new blogs or vivifying posts you come across on your sojourns. We’re always interested in new material. Cheerio for now!