Mo money, mo problems

Hi folks! There’s something of a financial theme to this week’s proceedings, and seeing as time is money, let’s crack on.

The Scottish Budget cleared its first major parliamentary hurdle this week, though as ASwaS points out, that’s not the end of the story, as it now enters Stage 2 of the legislative process. This is primarily a result of support from Conservative MSPs, and Scottish Tory Boy comes out in favour of their decision – as you’d expect – while also responding to a post made last week by AswaS, who thinks that the Tories sold themselves short. Bernard Salmon, however, thinks that the Tories sold out, and compares their backing for the early stages of the Budget with Annabel Goldie’s accusations during the election campaign that the LibDems would go into coalition with the SNP.

It’s not just the Tory position that has generated posts, however. With the outcome of the vote likely to be close, speculation was rife about how the different parties would behave. Kezia Dugdale was concerned at rumours that the Greens would abstain. They did, and Andrew Burns believes that they were hypocritical to do so.

Meanwhile, Holyrood Watcher takes an unimpressed look at how Labour have dealt with this year’s Budget, and Edinburgh Labour Councillor Ewan Aitken cheers the fact that Independent Lothian MSP Margo MacDonald’s intervention has secured specific funding for the capital city, but he’s not yet sure that it will be used wisely.

Elsewhere in the world of finance, with shares prices taking a tumble and stock trader Jérôme Kerviel managing to cost his employers, Société Générale, €5 billion, Flying Rodent would like to assure worried members of the financial industry that he bears them absolutely no ill will whatsoever. Certainly not, oh no.

Meanwhile, Peter Hain acquiring money, then neglecting to tell the right people about it, finally cost him his membership of the Cabinet this week. Bill Cameron and Mr. Eugenides react to the story, while Richard Havers looks at the resulting Cabinet reshuffle and does not like what he sees.

And with Hain’s departure, should Wendy Alexander follow suit? Richard Thomson and Grant Thoms say yes. But Jackie Baillie MSP says no, a response which horrifies Calum Cashley.

Speaking of slightly cringe-worthy endorsements, Donald Trump decided to wax lyrical about Alex Salmond this week, but he has not impressed Richard Havers. And while Trump finds time to praise the First Minister, his team will not be finding the time to appear before a Holyrood investigation into the saga that is the Donald’s planning application for a golf resort in Aberdeenshire. Angus Nicolson is unhappy with this.

However, one of Alex Salmond’s main critics on the way that planning application has been handled is Scottish LibDem Leader Nicol Stephen. But with allegations spreading that the last former LibDem Transport Minister Tavish Scott rejected a plan which would see the proposed Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route extension run perilously close to a wealthy LibDem donor’s house, Scottish Tory Boy and Hacksaw Jim Duggan argue that it’s hard for the LibDems to take the moral high ground on Trumptown.

Also, Trumptown is not the only planning application to raise eyebrows. Richard Leyton reports on a public meeting in Glasgow, regarding a “Go Ape” proposal in Pollok Park, and reports on further developments, including Richard’s local MSP Nicola Sturgeon opposing the plan.

In other news, a six-year-old e-mail by Labour apparatchik John McTernan, in which he suggests that racism and Presbyterianism are stopping Scotland from emulating the social-democratic paradise that is Sweden (now governed by a conservative coalition, incidentally), has been made public. The AEDJT wonders why one particular branch of Christanity has come in for such stick, and asks whether modern Scotland can really be described as Presbyterian anyway. Jamie Hepburn MSP seconds the view that the Christian denomination has come under a rather unfair attack, but agrees that Sweden’s examples are, in the main, worth following. However, he reckons that independence would allow Scotland to follow in Stockholm’s footsteps. Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting stays away from McTernan’s use of the “P” word, but agrees that we can learn from Sweden and suggests that if the Labour adviser wants to promote optimism and progressive, European-style attitudes, he ought to be advocating independence.

David Farrer, meanwhile, asks if Scotland’s education system “would have sunk so low” if it had been run by the Church of Scotland rather than the Labour Party. However, Kezia Dugdale argues that McTernan was right, and that the Government should be doing more to fight bigotry. Meanwhile, Holyrood Watcher has produced a brief summary of McTernan’s recent career.

But in the midst of this bout of national navel-gazing, Political Dissuasion is perturbed at the low esteem in which Westminster and the USA seem to hold Scotland at the moment.

Meanwhile, Cassilis condemns the tribalism in the current political party system, and Kevin Williamson takes a look at how accountable our elected representatives really are, and suggests that we have some way to go before we can consider ourselves democratic.

And with bloggers casting their eyes to the across the Atlantic, Shuggy takes a look at how US Presidential candidates analyse recent history.

But back to the UK, and with police forces in England protesting against their proposed pay deal, Gus Abraham explains why he will not be supporting them. Meanwhile, BellgroveBelle takes the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to task, after she admitted that she doesn’t feel safe walking the streets of London.

Iain Rubie Dale has more First ScotRail woes.

And it wouldn’t be the Scottish Roundup without some discussion of the constitutional question. With Labour now taking part in a Constitutional Commission to discuss more powers for Holyrood, Mark McDonald recalls Labour MSP Richard Baker opposing that discussion taking place before last year’s election, and wonders what, if anything, has changed his mind. And Jamie Hepburn MSP wonders what point there is in the Commission discussing anything, when Scotland Secretary Des Browne and Scotland Office Minister David Cairns keep ruling out new powers for Holyrood in various policy areas.

Staying on the theme, Anthony Wells of the UK Polling Report analyses support for independence in the opinion polls, and in a rare outbreak of praise for the MSM, Bill Cameron recommends a series of reports for BBC Radio Scotland on how the regions of Spain and Italy, along with recently-independent nation Slovakia, deal with the questions of autonomy and independence.

But as far as reaction is to the MSM is concerned, normal service is resumed by Duncan, who isn’t surprised that the ‘new’ ITV News at Ten lost a third of its viewers by Wednesday.

In the world of sport, John and Alastair react George Burley’s appointment as Scotland manager.

And finally, bloggers everywhere love to know how visitors first discover their work. Calum Carr takes a look at how people arrive at his site…

That’s your lot for this week. Next week you get a break from my seemingly interminable ramblings, when ASwaS takes the hot seat. Don’t forget that you can, as always, nominate posts for inclusion, by sending an e-mail to scottishroundup@gmail.com or by filling in the twiddlyfiddlybob on the right. But from me, it’s bye-de-bye!

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