Money, extremism and balls

Hi there folks! Welcome to this week’s Roundup, which is back on Sunday on account of my being quite dull and spending my Saturday night in. Anyway.

The old chestnut of Scottish independence and money has come up again, with the Herald reporting that Scotland is, in fact, not an economic basket case as Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells would have us believe, but more or less breaks even, and contributes more tax per head to the UK than every other nation and English region except London. Niall celebrates the debunking of a few myths about Scottish finances, David Farrer notes that any deficit in an independent Scotland could be eliminated with a brief enough spending freeze. And ASWaS is just relieved to see others say what he’s been thinking: that Scotland and England are about as rich as each other.

Meanwhile, David Cairns, Minister of State at the Scotland Office, has suggested that Labour might stop suggesting that independence spells certain economic doom for Scotland. IndyGal welcomes the public change of heart, but wonders what lies behind it, Mark wonders what Labour’s main argument against independence will be now, while Angus Nicolson reckons Labour should have come to this conclusion as soon as they lost the election. Here’s my two pence.

Staying with the constitution and the Union, David Torrance discusses the impact that Sir Malcolm Rifkind’s attempt to answer the West Lothian Question* has finally had in the press. Holyrood Watcher suspects it’s a lot harder to solve than Sir Malcolm makes out, while Garry looks at the next set of Constitutional anomalies the proposal will produce, and how they might end up being solved. Let’s just say it brings a new meaning to the phrase “running for office”!

Meanwhile, the question of extremism in Britain’s mosques has popped up again, thanks to a Policy Exchange report on some of the literature being distributed. The report is damning, but comes in for a good deal of criticism from Scottish bloggers: Garry takes a look at the what the author’s viewpoints on Islam already are, while Osama Saeed considers what literature is actually out there, and what impact it’s actually had. Cabalamat takes a quotation made in the report, compares it to current US and UK foreign policy, and spots striking similarities, and Alister points out that Christianity’s track record on extremism and violence isn’t exactly spotless.

On similar matters, Neil Craig considers reaction to James Watson’s comments on race, while Richard Havers discusses how just saying the word ‘immigrant’ can get you into trouble.

Following the Metropolitan Police’s appearance in court over the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, the call comes from Almax and Kevin Williamson: Blair must go! Some mistake, surely? Actually, no, it’s the other Blair, Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner.

Staying with crime and punishment, Gordon has been a victim of fraud, and needless to say, isn’t too sympathetic towards convicted criminals’ campaigns for human rights at the moment.

Meanwhile, now that the dust has settled in Aviemore, BellgroveBelle cheers the SNP Conference’s decision to re-affirm the party’s support for lowering the voting age to 16. Angry Steve doesn’t.

But the really big news this week is that the Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament managed to turn the CIS Cup Draw into a farce, after confusing the numbers two and three, which makes me a little bit uneasy at some of the results of votes cast at Decision Time. Mr. Eugenides points out that a Semi-Final draw it’s easy to mess up; while at Love and Garbage, there’s a distinct lack of surprise that politicians were capable of messing this up. Personally, seeing as it was Alex Fergusson (with two S’s) who messed this up, I’d like to hear a comment from Alex Ferguson (with one S) about the whole thing, but in the midst of this barking mad tale, Kezia Dugdale manages to make a serious point: given the amount of coverage this and other daft stories have got, have the Scottish media got their priorities right?

This brings us onto our regular look at the MSM: Bookdrunk looks at a Daily Mail attempt to smear a LibDem MP, while Duncan looks at the issue of bias in ITV’s coverage of Formula 1, and then takes time to celebrate 25 years of Channel 4 idents. I’m enjoying Channel 4’s anniversary celebrations, as it’s given them a chance to put the old ‘coloured blocks’ ident back on our screens. I liked the coloured blocks. You knew where you where with the coloured blocks. I liked the jingle, too.

Anyway, before this collapses into me rambling about Channel 4, Craig suggests that Alan Johnston, the BBC journalist kidnapped in Gaza, deserves a place on the New Year Honours List.

Also, are you running a struggling political party, in need of a decent campaign manager? If so, you could do worse than hire GMTV’s Kate Garraway. Louise notes how despite being a rubbish dancer, Kate has managed to gain enough support from the viewers to stay in Strictly Come Dancing for so long, even outlasting Gabby Logan, who was eliminated last week following a dance-off against Penny Lancaster-Stewart. Caron, meanwhile, suggests that maybe, just maybe, the judges shouldn’t be calling the viewers idiots. To be fair, Kate’s foxtrot last night wasn’t too shabby at all, though I voted for Kenny Logan. Once I’d stopped drooling and wishing that I was Ola Jordan, that is.

Oh, and this weekend, Angry Steve is particularly angry about his experience ordering a pizza online. Frankly, after having to wait two hours for a kebab that I phoned up for, I now do the sensible thing and walk to the takeaway to place my order in person and collect it myself.

Oh, and congrats to Mr Eugenides, whose blog is now two years old.

Finally, I’d be failing in my duties as a rounder-upper if I didn’t link to this post by ASWaS. Yes, even I let my hair down from time to time.

That’s it for this week; I now have to find a suitable paper bag to put over my head before I next go out in public. Meanwhile, if you have any posts you’d like to nominate, don’t forget to email us at or fill in the doobydood’n-boopshaboop on the right. Bye-de-bye!

* Readers of Sellar and Yeatman will know that solving the West Lothian Question is impossible, as just as anyone gets close to an answer, the Question will be changed.

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