Keeping an eye on Belgium while a nasty Uzbek oligarch keeps an eye on us

Hello there.

Pro-independence bloggers have been keeping a careful eye on the situation in Belgium for several weeks now and that has continued this week at Scottish Futures. Plenty are noting that if Flanders and Wallonia decide to go their separate ways, it could set an important precedent as to how the EU will deal with such matters.

Speaking of which, The Scotsman ran a story this week on this very issue. A “senior official” said that an independent Scotland would have to re-apply to the European Union. The problem is that this “senior official” was fisheries commissioner Joe Borg, who has nothing to do with constitutional issues. Adam Smith was a Socialist says that even if Scotland had to re-apply, it would most likely be a formality.

Meanwhile, Tartan Hero has pointed out that the similarity in situations between Belgium and Scotland has still led The Scotsman to report the two situations in radically contrasting ways.

Another story in The Scotsman surrounded SNP MSPs Stewart Stevenson and Jim Mather with apparent conflicts of interest. Ridiculous Politics can take the credit for getting their a few weeks before the MSM did. Given that it is now big news, Holyrood Watcher says it could be the first sign of sloppiness from the SNP.

Were their civil servants asleep on the job?

But whether or not there was a specific warning, the requirements of the Ministerial code are – or should be – sufficiently well-known. It is really not good enough for Ministers to come along four months after their appointment and in effect to say that, now they’ve been found out, they will hasten to build the necessary Chinese walls between themselves and their shareholdings.

New Saltire makes the same point, saying that they should have moved their shares into a blind trust as soon as they became ministers rather than waiting until they were found out five months later.

The British blogosphere as a whole has been getting very wound up about Alisher Usmanov. The Uzbek oligarch who has his eye on Arsenal Football Club has got several prominent political blogs shut down by making legal threats and generally throwing his (ample) weight around. Mr Eugenides has an excellent primer of the situation.

A lot of people have been pointing their finger at UK libel laws. David Farrer has written an open letter to Alex Salmond, suggesting that Scotland could carve itself a competitive advantage by introducing laws to enshrine freedom of speech.

Meanwhile, Will Patterson had a re-think as to what the biggest threat to blogging might be. Bill Cameron responded to that post with some thoughts on ‘swearblogging’ and other things he doesn’t like about some blogs.

Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting reckons that Labour now have a full-strength squad. He compares the opposition to the cabinet “in true Sky Sports fashion”.

Kezia Dugdale does a similar thing and finds that the Labour front bench is full of fluffy wuffy bunny rabbits, while the SNP is full of tartan Tories.

Less complimentary is Mr Eugenides, who absolutely rips into the new Labour front bench. It looks like he had fun writing that post!

As for the matter of why Labour now find themselves in opposition, Scottish Tory Boy notes that apparently it’s little to do with the Iraq war.

Meanwhile, The Tired Tory has heard that “open rebellion has broken out in a northern constituency”. Not another rebellion caused by friction between London-based Conservatives and their Scottish counterparts?!

Delving into the history of street planning, Michael Greenwell has a really interesting post on the origins of some of our street names — propaganda.

Richard Thomson passes judgement on the performances of Wendy Alexander and Menzies Campbell during the week. He even goes as far as to suggest that it was Menzies Campbell’s last outing as leader!

Also not too complimentary about the Lib Dems is Will Patterson, who compares the party’s policies on referendums on Scottish independence and the EU. It is a bit of a honking contradiction.

Clairwil has taken some time off from attacking politicians, so she is making up for it here. On her radar is people who think that 24 hour drinking licenses and smoking should go.

Angus Nicolson has a thing or two to say about the long-winded tendering process that Caledonian MacBrayne had to go through.

Pete Murray outlines why getting rid of the tolls on the bridges was a bad idea.

This week we learned that most Americans associated Scotland with Groundskeeper Willie. Prompted by this, Cursed Tea recounts some of her encounters with ignorant Americans.

Following the sacking of council workers for surfing the internet too much, Gordon McLean is not too impressed with Union officials who have blamed the employers for “putting temptation in their [the employees’] way”.

Ahead of the UEFA Cup fixture, Craig warned of embarrassment ahead as he discussed his support for Aberdeen Football Club. (Luckily for him, he was wrong in his prediction.)

Billy the Kid wants to know why Pot Noodle have reduced the salt. He’s losing the horn, and we wouldn’t want that.

If all of that wasn’t enough for you (pah!), then why not check out the Islay Blogging Roundup? Who knew there were so many blogs in Islay?!

That’s it for this week. Will Patterson is in the hot seat next week. I’m off to buy some party poppers. Scottish Roundup will be one year old next week. So make sure you get those nominations into, or the hassle-free magical form on the right.

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