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Clinging to November…

In a “stunning” last minute substitution – as I believe folk on the football field say – I’ve been drafted in to replace Mike Ritchie and triumphantly boot this week’s Scottish Roundup into the back of the net. Fear not, there is no red or yellow card – Mike is simply hamstrung by the Tyrant, Work – leaving yours truly to speed “down the line”. That was just one of a number of befuddling phrases I recall being flung about on our school football pitches. Happily, I mostly avoided the ball, therefore wasn’t forced to contort my features in bemusement terribly often, as my ungeometric sensibilities failed to locate a “line” in the ragbag of egotistical demi-pubescents who careened across the grass. I never did deduce whether “Man on!” was a warning about some lurking opponent, or a stern admonition to lurk threateningly myself, feet flailing.

The invisible hand of the school sporting market soon allocated me my place  -  doing an unconvincing bollard impression between the coloured paps of some unfortunate team’s goalposts.  I distinctly recall how one of my dun-bellied P.E. teachers waddled up and informed me that I’d get on better in goal if I uncrossed my arms. I rather archly-tartly asked the gormless quarter troll if that was his hypothesis. He grunted. I had my petulant, adolescent, intellectual victory.  No doubt he thought I was an effete little puke. Needless to say, my lumpen stint in goals was not marked by dexterous handling and heroic defending of our position. I was at least a handy excuse if the thrusting strikers on my squad failed to negotiate the ball past the opposition’s goal-posts, which I dare say were also diffidently blocked by an unheroic, abstruse academical soul, sourly doing physical service. But I digress.

Even a man as much out of it as myself couldn’t help but notice the tumult tearing through Scottish football. Happily, we needn’t rely on my expertise (sic) to understand the issues.  Left Back in the Changing Room focussed on the issue of referees. or those of you, like me, who aren’t regular attenders to footballing affairs, Gerry Hassan summarises the issues neatly, arguing that the:

“… emotional spasm which has gripped Scottish football would be comic, were it not so serious, revealing some of the sore wounds and faultlines of Scottish society”.

Martin Kelly connects these developments to shifting Catholic theology on prophylactics arguing:

“… even when the Catholic Church cannot bring itself to comment upon a development which challenges what every Catholic in Scotland has been taught to believe, there is one area of Scottish public life of such gravity, such importance, that time and energy can always be devoted to commenting upon it. That activity is football. Being a football referee is an odd hobby. The tendency of referees to dress in black and impose discipline on athletic young men suggests to me that the Christian Brothers of a harsher, less enlightened era might have lost more than a few vocations to the beautiful game. The psychological stranglehold, the deathgrip, that football exercises over Scotland will hopefully be broken by the imminent referees’ strike. In a mad, Kafkaesque kind of way, wildcat industrial action by the last recognised authority figures in a nation in love with authority for its own sake will hopefully produce a collective public nervous breakdown as a result of which both Scotland and the Scots can be made anew.”

Nick Johnston composes a purely fictional (ahem hem!) tale about Scottish Tories, Baron Sandstone and their leader in the Scottish Parliament, Arabella Tweedie. Meanwhile, well-kent columnist Ian Bell has started writing over at Prospero Inc. The gustiest political story of the week concerns the Scottish Variable Rate and John Swinney’s guilty parliamentary silence. Ideas of Civilisations emerges from his crypt to write about A power so important it was never used. Given her partisan bent, it may shock nobody to discover that Joan McAlpine sees it was a case of the tribulations of Honest John against the toadies. Neil Craig takes a starkly different view. It remains unclear how the brouhaha will effect public opinion (if at all). I have a brisk analysis of the headlines of the Ipsos-MORI poll published this week, while a non-aligned political Corbie assesses some of the questions posed by public attitudes towards the council tax.

One consequence of the SVR ballyhoo is that the stage 1 vote on Margo MacDonald’s End of Life Assistance (Scotland) Bill has been deferred. SNP Glasgow list MSP Anne McLaughlin is struggling with her conscience on the issues raised and asks her constituents for their opinions. This week, Suitably Despairing pens a greenish review of Tony Blair’s biography, A Journey. Cowrin’s opening gambit is that:

“I would say it was fair to categorise him as a better-than-average Prime Minister, with the caveat that he was a lying, warmongering, press-obsessed egomaniac.”

Read the rest here. Scots Whay Hae have also been reviewing this week – Allan Brown’s Nileism: The Strange Course of The Blue Nile.  Alistair Braidwood writes of his trepidation as he opened the tome:

“… there is a problem with biographies of your heroes. Sometimes it is better not to look behind the curtain and discover how the magic is made.”

Not a problem Cowrin wrestled with with Blair’s life, methinks. Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow, writes about homosexuality and debates at the recent meeting of the Church of England’s General Synod under the stark title, Preferring me dead. More jauntily, the damsel of the dancing scones writes about blogging’s transformative potential to accentuate the positive.

In local stories, Bright Green Scotland host an insider’s view of the recent financial collapse of the University of Edinburgh Settlement. In the Western Isles, Angus Nicolson writes about protecting rural schools, while Last Year’s Girl laments the closure of Glasgow’s Borders bookshop:

“I miss how you could get lost browsing the racks, how the stairs and the way the floors were numbered never matched up. It reminded me of the university building that housed my journalism degree – the one that was a converted mental hospital, which was missing a fourth floor although it had two halves of a third and a fifth.”

James Kelly writes on Political Betting about taking a punt on Scottish independence. A Lump in the Throat is conducting an international poetry experiment.  BellaCaledonia have fed their coins into the machine and are now blaring out Maggie’s Jukebox, choice musical memories from 1979 – 1990. Don’t get misty eyed there now. Meanwhile, nautical rodent guineapigmum shares a favourite image of a sea anemone.  She writes:

I took it years ago in the late 1980s on an expedition to St Kilda. There is an underwater cave about 25m down, right below the peak of the island of Dùn in Village Bay; the roof of the cave is covered with sheets of these white cluster anemones (and I’m sorry, we have to do Latin here) Parazoanthus anguicomus.  This photo might not win prizes or be technically the best but I like it.  It evokes for me a wonderful dive site and some great trips to the very edge of Scotland.

Living proof that not all bloggers are ancient opinionated middle aged men, Hollie is a fourteen year old Scottish lassie who blogs here. Meanwhile, Scottish writer Andy McCallum Crawford has been interrogated for the Greek Omikron Magazine and publishes an English translation.

Finally, as it draws to a close, “Remember, remember the month of MOvember! Face-furniture, whiskers and fuzz…” Whyte and Mackay’s Master Blender, Richard “the Nose” Paterson, explains the significance of MOvember and his own reasons for adopting a commemorative cold upper lip, contrary to his usual whisky-strainer style.

And yes, that is the whistle blown! The crowd erupt. The team sag off for a nourishing cup of coffee…  Do remember to keep sending us your nominations and know no shame about nominating yourselves.

Cheerio for now!

“Spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night…”

“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!

Season of tiffs & mellow fruitiness…

If there hasn’t exactly been Miliband-fever, at the beginning of the week the blogosphere at least broke sweat over  the new Labour leader’s first big speech, which conspired to load and bless his party with electoral fruit. Kezia Dugdale suggests the speech was…

“… an absolute triumph. It was vibrant, honest and full of depth. There was a clear line drawn against the past and a clear set of values established for the future. An admission that Iraq was wrong and that we should never have considered 90 day detentions were very welcome – and i know will be appreciated by members in Edinburgh East.”

The Kirk Elder thinks that in future, Miliband should reign in his youthful rhetoric. Too much green sap, he says. With a maternal eye, Ellen Arnison suggests that the “Miliband brothers set tone for siblings in the spotlight” while Dispatches from Paisley writes on post-modernist Labour. SNP and trade union activist Chris Stephens suggests that the SNP should be glad that Ed has won. Others picked up particular elements of Miliband’s speech. On his assertion that the Iraq war as a mistake,  Labour MP Eric Joyce argues:

In the end, if you deify any human it’s going to end in tears.  At the Chilcott Inquiry, Tony Blair said the 2010 question was; ‘where would Iraq be today under Saddam?’.  For Labour in 2010, he was wrong and Ed is right.

I wondered how his statement – when Ken Clarke says we need to look at short sentences in prison because of high reoffending rates, I’m not going to say he’s soft on crime” – might impact on Scottish Labour’s “soft on crime” rhetoric. In a related argument (to which I’m indebted) the assiduous Stuart Winton looks at how Unionist parties rationalise different policy approaches north and south of the border, in particular on the living wage.

This week the SNP announced its rankings on the regional list for the Holyrood election of 2011. Of the party’s 47 Holyrood seats won in the 2007 election, 26 were members by dint of the proportionalising list system. Will Paterson offers the blogosphere’s definitive analysis, with likely promotions and relegations in each of the 8 Scottish regions. A number of incuments will almost certainly not be returning. Meanwhile, a certain critical Corbie has pecked out the ranking’s implications for women’s participation in Nationalist politics, assessing that:

“However, if the SNP takes the same number of constituency and regional seats in 2011 as it did in 2003 it is likely to have only 8 women MSPs, from a total of 27.  That would be 2 less than it actually achieved in 2003, resulting in less than 30% of its group being women. If the SNP wins 47 seats next year, repeating its triumph in 2007, then it will have 14 women MSPs:  exactly the same as it has now.”

Gerry Hassan has a piece on the “Slow transformation of gay Scotland”, while on the  related theme of the difficulties which can assail public avowals of sexual identity, Stephen has this emotive and deeply personal reflection on the place of sexuality in his own life. This week, US Senators revivified their suspended hearings on the release of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing. As ever, Professor Robert Black keeps us informed on developments.

It was, by common consent, a turnipy edition First Minister’s Questions in Holyrood this week. Tumshies thwapped off another, perhaps causing a little blunt trauma to the respective parties, but hardly producing heat or illumination. Many in the blogosphere seem to have perked up at Green MSP Patrick Harvie’s question to the Maximum Eck, inviting him to support a moratorium on deep-water oil drilling.  Suitably Despairing, in impish echo of a certain SNP from bygone days, contends that “Its Salmond’s oil”. Jeff picks up the thread in an incendiary post, headlined “Oil be damned”. In other news from Holyrood, this week the committee scrutinising Margo MacDonald’s assisted dying Bill finished taking evidence from its second-last panel. I argue that the doughty tribunes failed to ask a few pertinent questions on the criminal law as it stands, which is a pity.

Typical instruments for protesting include but are not limited to – loud-hailers, daubed banners, a vocal and preferably alliteratively-scripted crowd. Pleasingly idiosyncratically, a group of enthusiasts have drawn attention to the petition on the Wigtown Bay windfarm by using … er … kayaks. Bigrab has also been donning his Admiral costume and taking to his canoe this week, with a diverting, waterlogged and geological reflection on the Highland boundary fault.

This week, carbon emission reduction group 10:10 released an explosive (literally) campaign video directed by Richard Curtis, better known for languorous metropolitan Rom-Coms. To say it has  gone down like the proverbial lead balloon is probably an understatement. More like a wrought-iron-reinforced lead balloon. One fruminous Greek Baby calls the ad an “epic, epic PR fail”, while Adam Ramsay of Bright Green Scotland attempts to salvage some crumb of comfort from the wreckage, but nevertheless agrees – “brave, bold, bad” – he suggests. On a related note, ThinkScotland hosts a post from Neil Craig, entitled “Climate folly of all the political parties” on Holyrood’s Climate Change (Scotland) Act of 2009.

Love and Garbage has an amusingly satirical piece that in no way relates to Migration Watch’s nimious attempts to sue Sally Bercow for libel. I look forward to the announcement that Migrainewatch will be receiving core funding from the Scottish Government any day now. Former Hue & Cry musician Pat Kane fronts new-ish blogging endeavour Thoughtland, self-styled as “a blog of ideas based in Scotland, interested in the future of the country, but referencing itself against the best of global theory and practice”. Currently, they’re mapping some of the sites of the life of the mind in Scottish life.

Peace-loving Liberal hippie Caron writes angrily, contra the Daily Mail, on the need for more council housing, a post that prompted Malcolm of Better Nation to grow mill owner’s mutton-chops and suggest that those with limited means should knot their sexual organs if necessary, and behave more responsibly. Mindful of both pieces, His traffic-coned Grace, The Irn Juq has written an extended reflection on “the World’s Real Oldest Profession”.

I’m sure many of us have enjoyed Open Doors Days as a chance to poke about in normally forbidden climes in familiar cities. SeanMcP has an exceedingly enjoyable account of his recent jaunt across Edinburgh, that took him from the Sheriff Court to the Observatory House and beyond. Meanwhile, Scots scribbler Sophia Pangloss summons our hag-ridden imaginations to other scenes and settings in Auld Reekie, starting us off in the hoppy confines Guildford Arms, a pub which I used to frequent now and then when I was a student in Embra. Maintaining the literary strand, Pining for the West has an interesting piece on the work of Thomas Carlyle, while, I must also mention this Scotland-based poet’s blog Beyond the Dragon’s Breath. Scotland in the Gloaming has an astonishingly evocative image of the ruined Dunure Castle at sunset. I’m sure MacBeth‘s Weird Sisters keep a summer bothy, just around the corner.  To leap from one coast to the other, in the east Tris of Munuin’s Republic has been to see the six finalists in the competition to design the building to house the outpost of the Victoria and Albert Museum, planned in Dundee.

A new university term will be beginning across the country. In matters musical, Aye Tunes reviews the University of the West of Scotland’s Freshers’ Music Festival.  Over at BellaCaledonia, Kevin Williamson asks Scottish football: when does the revolution begin? and suggests that

“The Old Firm financially dominate Scottish football but their heads-down-no-nonsense-mindless-running philosophy is holding back the development of the game here.”

Alas, I’ve no sage advice of my own to dispense, my last brush with football being a long age ago now, sentinelled lumpenly in goal during a school match.  I managed to block a scant percentage of my schoolmates’ enthusiastic strikings, successes mostly attributable to the dulling intervention of puppy bloat, rather than any dexterity on my part. In other concerns sporting and civic, the Burd offers a few warm thoughts on national identity and Ross Edgar, the Scotland team’s flag carrier at the Delhi Commonwealth Games. However, the world of flags is fraught with peril, not least for regular pub-quizzers. This week, Scots blawger Absolvitor has this discombobulating post on the legality of running your lion rampant underpants up the flagpole. I shan’t be making that mistake again.

And that, as they say, is that for this week. Many thanks for all your nominations and I hope you’ve enjoyed my selections! Cheerio for now!

Wanted: Scottish rounduppers!

You’ll all be familiar with the worthy collective venture that is the weekly Scottish Roundup. In the best spirit of civic nationalism, the roundup gives Scottishness its widest possible definition. When it is working at its best, weekly guest editors collate suggestions from the blog-reading public, make their own choices and often highlight a missed essay, a neglected site and otherwise contribute to the inter-connectedness of the Scottish blogging world. These seems to be excellent things, devoutly to be wished and encouraged.

Recently, a few of us have ganged up to relieve Duncan of the perpetual burdens of administration. To whit, this month it is my turn to play officious servitor*. Of late we’ve not been fostering as polyphonous a range of on-weekly authors as I’d like to see, so consider this an earnest call to arms. Or at least, some other less martial metaphor that nevertheless communicates a sincere invitation to participate. Have you previously edited a roundup and fancy doing it again? Do please let me know and we’ll line you up. You may be a long-time reader, but don’t maintain a blog yourself. Please don’t let that dissuade you. Perhaps you are rattling away at a new (or old) blog and want to shamelessly plug your own prose to a potentially broader audience. Editing an weekly edition is an obvious way of doing so. Still not convinced? One last civic-minded argument then, to sway the waverers. Its obvious enough, but the project’s ongoing survival is entirely reliant on the good offices of volunteer writers and composers. We could use the assistance. If you’d like to volunteer or ask about what specifically would be involved, do just pop me an e-mail at ~

* P.S. If this month doesn’t suit, do nevertheless let me know and we can line you up later in the year.

Summer’s lease hath all too short a date…

We’ve had a last minute field-promotion here at the Scottish Roundup, and yours truly has been cheerfully and willingly dragooned into composing this exceedingly last-minute overview of Scotland’s blogging interests over the last week. Apologies pre-emptively to those of you who prefer to live more de-politicised lives – what follows will by necessity rather retrace what the fine folk have had to say who populate my own blog roll. And they’re almost all party hacks, anoraks and sundry analysts. Nevertheless, plenty,  I’d submit, to divert the open-minded!

From Holyrood: Prison, knife crime and crofters…

It has been an immensely busy legislative week for Holyrood, with final stage 3 deliberations on both the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill and the equally creatively entitled Crofting Reform Bill. At stake were eye-catching criminal justice stories including presumptions against short term prison sentences and Labour’s Tory-backed proposals to introduce a presumption that knife-carriers be send to jail for a period of at least six months. Aptly enough, on the very day the Criminal Justice Bill was debated, the Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clark gave a speech on the potential virtues of doing away with short term prison sentences. Dean McKinnon-Thomson asks does prison work? His Tory comrades in the Scottish Parliament had no doubts and no qualms. Prison is just dandy, they claimed, and voted for as much of it as possible, a position which I rather volubly dispute. James Kelly describes the defeat of minimum sentences for knife-possession and the general abolition (albeit conditional and contingent rather than absolute) of short-term prison sentences as a defeat for the forces of conservatism in Scotland. Alex Massie generally supported Clark’s theorising and described Holyrood’s practical moves to bring them into effect as a “shocking, startling outbreak of good sense”. Was Mr Massie was a mite surprised, do you think?

Subrosa dips into her own origins, and describes the final passage of the Reform Bill a ‘historic week for crofters’.

Like many of us, Jeff’s mind is turning to the Holyrood election on the 5th of May 2011. This week, he sets down his tactical thinking, positing “ten factors which will decide the Holyrood election.” Tris, rugged Consul of Munguin’s Republic, responds with a further analysis of what is at stake for Salmond, Gray and emphasises the importance of communication. Also with the election in mind, Mark Ferguson of Morhamburn  – a public affairs and media relations company Based in Edinburgh – asks, “Where is the centre of gravity for the SNP?” Similar questions are preying on the mind of Gerry Hassan, who discussed the Maximum Eck’s recent remarks on the SNP’s mission and how independence for Scotland fits into that project. Whether as a deliberate longjumper or an accidental highjumper, Hassan wonders if this is Alex Salmond’s “big leap forward (or not)”.

This week as also seen EnCore’s discovery of an untapped pool of oil, 110 miles off the coast of Aberdeen. Both Bellgrove Belle and Subrosa don hard hat and goggles and take a look at the implications of this unanticipated new well of black gold – and aptly enough ask just who will benefits from its glistering ebon flow.  Power and Its Minions dons his expert and satirical white coat to explain another truly significant breakthrough, dealing not so much with the constitution of the earth’s crust, but rather more with the governance of these islands of ours.

From Westminster: AV referendum, Your Freedom, Gay Marriage…

Jeff may wish to add an eleventh factor to his analysis, with the news that the Coalition’s referendum on the Alternative Vote system is scheduled to fall on the very same day next year. Nick Clegg’s coinciding plebiscite plan has been vehemently criticised from many quarters of the Scottish political world, both procedurally and substantively. Alex Porter has a sharp word or two to say, while Ian MacQuarrie gets a sinking feeling. James Kelly is going so far as to get out his political death certificates, with a post entitled “Respect agenda, RIP”. On the more general question of the substance of Alternative voting – I can’t decide how to vote and would appreciate help in making up my mind. Meanwhile, Big Rab discusses one of the Westminster coalition’s other big plans – the so-called Great Repeal Bill  and the Your Freedom site they’ve set up to solicit suggestions of ‘unnecessary laws’ from the public common. In which association, Caron confesses to her own shameless and wicked history of lawlessness.

Marching at this year’s London Pride, bushel-topped Mayor of the city, pressed by Peter Tatchell, Boris Johnson said that  “If we can have a coalition between Tories and Lib Dems, why can’t we have gay marriage?” Dean MacKinnon-Thomson of the New Right argues that the Conservatives should pursue Boris’ proposal in earnest. Meanwhile Stephen the Yellow Bonnet Laird of Linlithgow experiences mild raptures and (I assume sardonically) suggests we heave ho DavCam out of Number 10 and enter a coalition with equalising Boris instead.


Bright Green Scotland take us ‘Behind the Smokescreen’ on student fees.

Scotland for the Senses has a splendid piece on Tam o’ Shanter and Alloway’s Brig o’ Doon

Hector MacQueen of Scots Law News turns his learned eye back over the apparently endless criminal cases involving tackle-out enthusiast, Stephen Gough, better known as the Naked Rambler by comparing the unjust punishment meted to out to rambling naturists in Scotland with a recent, very similar case in Switzerland. Adopting another comparative attitude, James Taylor asks What can the Liberal Democrats learn from Apple?

Meanwhile, in the world of fiction, Donna of Badsville reviews the weighty shelf of books she devoured over the month of June. Scots Whay Hae! inaugurates its You Have Been Watching, “a weekly feature looking at the good, bad and ugly (but mainly the good) of Scottish Film past.” This week, Alistair Braidwood discusses Peter Capaldi’s Strictly Sinatra.

And to end with a different sort of fiction, South Lanarkshire’s planning committee is not, I fancy, top of any idle soul’s list of exciting diversions. However, life has suddenly got much more interesting for its Labour convenor (in the Chinese proverbial sense). Joan McAlpine writes about the scandal which seems to be engulfing Councillor Jim Docherty, whose moustache is without question wider than two fish. Rab has a good-going rant about the whiffy associations which are alleged between the Cooncillor and his mate, the property developer (and serial planning permission applicant).

In despatches from the east coast, Hythlodaeus criticises the abundance of hooch-skirling shops whose tat tartanry festoons Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.


Finally, it is worth noting that this week Scottish Labour-supporting bloggers moved from an at risk category to an endangered species, with Yousuf foregoing his yap now that he has graduated from university and is embarking on wage labour in the private sector. After a period of mute abeyance, Ian Hamilton QC too has confirmed that he shan’t be rattling out any more posts. “It takes energy to be a nuisance and I have run my course”, he notes.  Finally, in a highly-recommended post, Dundee’s Stuart Winton takes the opportunity to discuss whether the macblogosphere in general is tending towards decline.

And thus, good friends, that is very much it for this week’s edition of the Scottish Roundup. Do continue to submit suggestions of spiffing blogs and posts and whatnot to us. What’s more,  no doubt Duncan will keep us informed about how Roundup 2.0 is shaping up. As ever, feel free to forward your vituperation, complaints or misdirected takeaway orders to