Hi folks! As Duncan mentioned last week, Iâ€™ve been drafted in to help around here, so Iâ€™ll be consolidating the weekâ€™s stories into one easy-to-manage Roundup. If youâ€™re looking to re-mortgage your house, on the other hand, then sadly, thereâ€™s not much we can do. We canâ€™t do everything.
Anyway, we start off with some good news, as CuriousHamster, who helped get the Roundup off the ground, has made a much-awaited and very welcome return to bloggery, and provides us with news that we may have missed: with MPs about to go back to their constituencies and prepare for their holidays, the Government has issued in excess of 100 Ministerial statements.
Among the policies unveiled by Gordon Brownâ€™s administration in the last week of term is a proposal to seize money from dormant bank accounts, as discussed by Ewan Watt. However, itâ€™s the proposed counter-terror measures, which include plans to double the length of time a terror suspect can be detained, that have got other bloggers going. Reactionary Snob casts a cynical eye over government claims that it is working to protect civil liberties, claiming that the Labour government is, in fact, eroding them. Osama Saeed, meanwhile, has a look at this, ID cards and the seizure of terror suspectsâ€™ possessions. Robert Sharp believes that the system is already able to deal with extremism, noting the convictions for those who incited violence in response to the Mohammed cartoons:
When the cartoons came to light and the argument ensued, many asked why we tolerated these illiberals in our mists. They claimed that this was evidence that our society and values were being undermined by outsiders. But in fact this was not the case: our legal system was robust enough to see off the challenge (perhaps, as PDF implies, a little too harshly). As I have said before, our values can easily see off fundamentalist challenges, without the need to tighten immigration restrictions, or create harsher laws.
Staying with extremism, Clairwil has a well thought-out post on the Reggae Compassionate Act, and takes a wider look at Jamaican society, while Bill Cameron reports on homophobia in Italy and the Netherlands.
Still, however bad things get, you could always be Jack McConnell, whose impending resignation as Labour Leader was announced in last weekâ€™s press. At Adam Smith was a Socialist, the thinking is that McConnell should stay, but donâ€™t take that to be an endorsement. Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting canâ€™t resist wanting McConnell to stay either, but believes that the departure would be a good thing for Holyrood. Iain Gibson produces a brief political obituary for McConnell and joins in the speculation as to his successor. Davie Hutchison chips in as well and breaks the news that a number of MSPs from other parties will have a vote in a Labour Leadership election!
Whether or not McConnell is going next month, we do know of one resignation: Peter Duncan has stepped down as Chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, but this doesnâ€™t seem to be making many waves outside of Tory circles. However, David Torrance wonders about the timing of the announcement, while The Tired Tory tells us what he would like to see happen. Looking at the UK Tories, HolyroodWatcher asks: is being a political heavyweight necessarily a good thing?
Meanwhile, we await the publication of the SNPâ€™s White Paper on Independence. The good people at Scottish Futures are excited about the debate to come, while agentmancuso isnâ€™t convinced that the debate will be all itâ€™s cracked up to be.
Incidentally, Alex Salmond returned to Westminster last week. Jeff didnâ€™t think the potential clash between Gordon Brown and Scotlandâ€™s FM would be all that exciting, and Richard Havers is exasperated with the mediaâ€™s reporting of Alex Salmond.
While weâ€™re on the subject, Richard takes a long hard look at the news media, and his conclusions are well worth a read:
â€œIt’s yet more evidence that the news have an agenda to paint a country of darkness and despair when we are largely the opposite as a nation. However, how much longer it will be before we fall foul of their constant brainwashing I’m not sure. There was a study done recently that said people were more optimistic and happy in the early 1950s than they are now. The news media and particularly the TV have an awful lot to answer for.â€
Staying with the media, the BBC has had a torrid time, with people wondering if the Corporation can still be trusted. Duncan, who is still too modest (frustratingly so) to nominate his own posts when someone else is fronting the Roundup, thinks that the BBC has handled the current controversy well compared with its commercial rivals. Bookdrunk notes that the Daily Mail was quick to attack the BBC for â€œpeddling a pack of liesâ€, despite the paper being guilty of the same thing.
Speaking of scandals, the Crown Prosecution Service might have decided not to charge anyone over cash-for-honours, but Tartan Hero suspects that the story is far from over. Chris Stephens, meanwhile, slams the CPS for taking part in a whitewash.
Also making waves is George Galloway, who attempted to fight his 18-day suspension from the House of Commons and got himself ejected from it in the process. Right for Scotland isnâ€™t exactly impressed by Gallowayâ€™s conduct. Chris Stephens compares the suspension to Cllr John Masonâ€™s nine-month suspension from Glasgow City Council: he agrees with the substance of Gallowayâ€™s argument but feels little sympathy for the Respect MP. However, Angus Nicolson is supportive, while Flying Rodent canâ€™t help but be impressed by Gallowayâ€™s quoting of porn titles owned by Richard Desmond in the Commons.
Galloway, however, isnâ€™t the only Socialist whose verbal prowess has been noticed: Mark McDonald was queuing up for the latest Harry Potter and spotted an interesting title. Meanwhile, Harry Potter fan Louise brings a much-needed sense of perspective back to Pottermania, thanks to the Daily Mash.
Finally, who can resist a quick look at local government? Surreptitious Evil examines the case of three members of Bideford Town Council in Devon, who have left the LibDem group in protest at another memberâ€™s rather interesting career, while Mr. Eugenides gives us a sad tale of Falkirk Councilâ€™s role in planning funerals.
And thatâ€™s your lot for this week. Richard Thomson will be your guide through the jungle that is the Scottish blogosphere next week. As always you can send in your suggestions via the twiddly-doodah on the right, or dropping us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. But from me, itâ€™s bye-de-bye!