Hain in meltdown

Okay, first of all I should apologise for the lateness of this week’s roundup. We have been hit with a myriad of unusual technical hitches. Will can’t access the website at all for some unknown reason, so I am posting it on his behalf. And then for some reason Will’s emails never got to me. But the roundup is here now, and that is the main thing.

While I’m here, I might as well point out that I am taking the next few weeks off from the roundup to concentrate on my dissertation. But you will barely notice the difference as — technical hitches permitting — it will be under the capable hands of Will, and of course the guests we have coming up. –Duncan

Hi folks! It looks like the season of peace and goodwill has well and truly ended, though bloggers have managed to recover from the hangovers sufficiently to get their teeth into this week’s news. Let’s take a look…

The news that the UK Government is pressing ahead with plans for new nuclear power stations generates some comment. Gus is not impressed with the decision, but Bill Cameron is supportive. Duncan and Niall are in favour of the decision, though there’s a grudging, “if we must” tone to their posts. Garry casts a sceptical eye over plans to finance the new stations.

Speaking of the UK Government and radioactivity, Peter Hain, the Work & Pensions Secretary (and also the Wales Secretary) has come under fire for failing to register the donations to his campaign for Labour’s Deputy Leadership. No one seems to be defending him, he’s taking pelters from Mr. Eugenides, Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting, Angus Nicolson, Political Dissuasion, Bernard Salmon and Reactionary Snob.

But one question that no one’s asking is whether or not Hain can name all the colours of the rainbow. Scott at Love and Garbage reacts to news that Children’s Secretary Ed Balls cannot.

Meanwhile, back at Holyrood, the non-abolition of sportscotland got people talking. Grant is celebrating the decision. He is joined – and this happens very rarely – by the Leader of Edinburgh Council’s Labour Group Ewan Aitken, who points out that it’s a U-turn by the SNP, but one he’s pleased to see. Alastair agrees that it’s a U-turn but it not quite so pleased to see it.

Elsewhere, bloggers are reacting to an opinion poll for STV that puts Labour ahead of the SNP for the first time since the election. Kezia Dugdale and Edinburgh Councillor Andrew Burns have cause to celebrate. Grant and Mark McDonald are less willing to accept the poll’s findings, though do point out that Labour supporters don’t mention the findings that Alex Salmond is far more popular than Wendy Alexander. Scottish Tory Boy has issues with the poll but notes that SNP supporters are far less likely to be dismissive of polls that put the SNP ahead. He may or may not be pleased by the approach taken by ASwaS, who thought Progressive Scottish Opinion weren’t all that good when they were putting SNP support at 48%, and so has no problem with disregarding them now.

Bloggers have been mulling over an article by Iain Macwhirter on Comment is Free where he considers the fact that Alex Salmond is Scotland’s First Minister, Plaid Cymru’s Ieuan Wyn Jones is the Deputy First Minister of Wales and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness is Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland and comes to the conclusion that, combined with Tory plans for an English Grand Committee at Westminster, the UK is starting to drift apart and Westminster is not dealing with events. Gus wonders if Macwhirter is starting to support independence, but Holyrood Watcher thinks that Macwhirter is “over-egging the pudding”.

Meanwhile, new UK LibDem Leader Nick Clegg visited Scotland this week. Calum Cashley and Mr. Eugenides aren’t people you would expect to see agreeing with each other, but they both think that Clegg has managed to mis-read the Constitutional Question. Richard Thomson, meanwhile, reflects on the difficulties inherent in trying to use Scottish banknotes in England and is exasperated that the Scottish LibDems have only just discovered this problem. They would have cottoned on to it sooner had they visited the various shops in Lancashire that I’ve used, where I’ve had to stand at the checkout waiting for the old women behind the till to stop arguing over whether it’s the Scottish or the Irish notes that they’re not allowed to take.

Meanwhile, Calum Cashley reckons he’s found the ideal person to replace Wendy Alexander as Labour Leader: Helen Eadie, MSP for Dunfermline East!

However, one person who isn’t being mentioned as a potential Labour Leader is Councillor Terry Kelly (I know, I know, we’ve been over this before and you’re bored with this row by now, but stay with me), Wendy Alexander’s former election agent, who has been noticed by the MSM after an ill-advised joke about the intelligence of women. At TerryWatch, Clairwil reports on the sheer hilarity of the situation. Personally, I don’t see the funny side.

However, Renfrewshire’s ambassador to the blogosphere might get on rather well with volunteers at Revolution Books, who are outraged at a book by Jung Chang which suggests that Chairman Mao might not have been the cuddly, fluffy bunny we all previously imagined him to be. In a brilliantly-written post, Clairwil is “appalled that some pampered American oaf who’s worst experience is being marketed at would seek to prevent a woman who lived through the affectionately remembered rule of Mao from speaking her mind”.

But now on to US politics, and bloggers are mulling over the results of the Iowa Caucuses and New Hampshire Primaries (poor little Wyoming’s Republican Caucuses appear to have passed without anyone caring). Robert Sharp isn’t all that impressed with opinion pollsters, who predicted that Barack Obama would score a thumping victory in New Hampshire. Aileen Colleran is supporting John Edwards, but realises that he only has a slightly greater chance of winning than Andrew Burns’s hamster. Iain Rubie Dale has found out that he has a lot in common with Obama, the Democratic victor in Iowa. And at Cabalamat, the view is that former Arkansas Governor and winner of the Iowa Republican Caucuses Mike Huckabee is unfit to be President. Meanwhile, Calum Carr is not happy with BBC Correspondent Justin Webb’s reporting, but Richard Leyton is impressed with the British media’s coverage of the elections, and can’t get enough. Bill Cameron, on the other hand, can’t bear the idea of a frenzy that lasts from now all the way until November.

Elsewhere, Cassilis finds fault with a report that accuses French and German schools of indoctrinating youngsters.

Closer to home, Ewan Aitken takes a look at binge drinking.

Meanwhile, a new blog is getting everyone’s attention: The Last Blast, publishing “Edinburgh news that the press just won’t touch”. With the author(s) coming up with posts such as ”City Council to Publish Swimsuit Calendar”, I will simply say that the attention is fully deserved.

Staying with Edinburgh, Angry Steve is already annoyed at the disruption being caused by the construction of the tram lines. And on the West Coast, Iain Rubie Dale is still annoyed by First ScotRail’s fare structure. He at least has not had to contend with FirstGroup’s other toy, Transpennine Express, where a train with just three carriages is viewed as adequate to convey passengers comfortably from Edinburgh to Manchester.

And of course, it was only a matter of time before the weather got us talking. Silversprite wonders why Scottish infrastructure seems unable to cope with Winter, which is, after all, an annual event. And with environmentalists linking the recent breeze and drizzle to climate change, Duncan is underwhelmed at their hysteria, and Richard Havers points out that bad weather has been a regular feature of Scottish life. Meanwhile, Islay Blog brings news that the conditions are ideal for turtle spotting.

Now that we’re on to animals, Kezia Dugdale considers how chicken makes it way to the supermarkets. Her post might put you off your dinner somewhat, though not as much as this one by Bill Cameron which will make you wonder what people will do for entertainment in the North.

Meanwhile, in our frequent look at the MSM, and why we’re better (well, let’s be honest here, we are, aren’t we?) Craig has GMTV’s usage of ‘a.m.’ and ‘p.m.’ in his sights, and Simon Dickson thinks that the papers are overstating the threat posed to their recruitment websites by the Scottish Government’s job portal.

And when he’s not angry about the trams, Angry Steve turns his rage to cybersquatting instead.

Elsewhere, Gordon McLean has raised questions over the future of the Scottish Blogs website, and points to a lack of response at its recent disappearance. This has, in turn, prompted a small wave of people going “Nooooo!!!!!!” in the Comments section. What do you think?

And if you’re in Edinburgh this week, then why not join Scottish Tory Boy, for what is fast evolving into a bloggers’ night out?

Well, that’s your lot for this week. Don’t forget that if you spot (or post) something that you think would look great in next week’s Roundup, you can drop us a line at scottishroundup@gmail.com or take advantage of the bobbityjob on the right. Bye-de-bye!


  1. The Roundup really is absolutely encyclopaedic these days; getting round almost all the blogs every week really must take a lot of work.

    Congrats Duncan and Will, keep up the splendid work.

  2. Thanks Mr E. I often wonder if we should really be trying to include fewer posts and just focus on a dozen or so excellent posts. But the current format seems to work well enough.