Borders and Boundaries

Hi folks! This week’s Roundup is going to be a bit process-y, as you are in the tender care of an unapologetic electoral geek.

This is because the Boundary Commission for Scotland has issued its long awaited draft proposals to revise the boundaries for the Scottish Parliamentary Constituencies. ASwaS takes a look at some of the howlers made by the Commission, and has a stab at analysing how the 2007 Election would have turned out if the proposals had been in place last year, and in a supreme service to geekery, produces a map of the proposals.

Calum Cashley reckons that the proposals are positive for the SNP, and Jamie Hepburn MSP is similarly optimistic, though does take the time to issue the now customary “What the…?!” over the proposed North Renfrewshire & Clydebank Constituency, which would straddle the Firth of Clyde.

Malc in the Burgh notes that the changes are generally bad news for Labour, but reckons that the voters, faced with yet another series of major changes, are probably the biggest losers. Before the proposals were published, Glasgow Labour Aileen Colleran produced a post which gave me food for thought: she (correctly) resigned herself to the fact that Westminster, Holyrood and Council boundaries would continue to cross each other, and argued that it’s not just political parties who have to find a way of sorting out their infrastructure to deal with that – community groups who deal with local politicians hav to deal with the differing boundaries as well.

But the changes to the boundaries could be thrown into disarray by changes to the border with England: could Berwick-upon-Tweed find itself back in Scotland again? Julie Hepburn recalls her childhood memories of the town and argues that the local people should decide, but Richard Havers wonders if local people would see much in the way of a positive difference. David Farrer points out that a small adjustment to the land border would result in a major adjustment to the maritime border. Bernard Salmon suggests that if Scotland takes Berwick back from England, it ought to give Orkney & Shetland back to Norway. Jeff thinks that Christine Grahame MSP – who has tabled a motion about this in the Scottish Parliament – is being somewhat less than constructive, and Anthony Wells at the UK Polling Report points out that the poll for the local press which projects an overwhelming majority in favour of a return to Scotland isn’t actually all that credible.

Border issues are making an impact elsewhere in Europe as well: Kosovo is on the verge of declaring independence (and looks like it will have done so by the time you read this): Alyn Smith MEP takes a look, and also discusses the Cypriot Presidential Elections.

However, the US Presidential Elections are the main game in town: Kezia Dugdale now thinks that Barack Obama is going to secure the Democratic nomination and is excited at the prospect, though Edinburgh Labour Councillor Andrew Burns is gutted that Obama’s momentum has in effect wiped out his hamster’s Presidential campaign.

On the other side of the world, the new Australian Government has apologised to the Aboriginal people for past injustices committed against them. Andrew Burns hails the move.

However, the treatment of different peoples within a nation isn’t just a hot topic in Australia: in the UK, there’s a continuing debate on multiculturalism, and an article by the Royal United Services Institute argues that the policy is undermining security in the country. Garry disagrees with its findings.

On a similar theme, there’s been controversy over whether or not young people are being victimised through use of the ‘Mosquito’ which emits noise that causes discomfort to the under 25s. Bellgrove Belle is horrified.

Staying with community safety and policing, Mr. Eugenides looks at how owning an MP3 player can get you on the DNA register, and this prompts Bill Cameron to look at whether or not the UK is a police state.

While we’ve got the police in, the investigation into Tommy Sheridan’s alleged perjury continues with Solidarity Co-Convener and former MSP Rosemary Byrne being charged with perjury, along with a number of others, and Gail Sheridan (Mrs. Tommy) now helping police with their enquiries. Angus Nicolson, Scott, RfS and IndyPal Two all look on.

On the subject of party difficulties, bloggers have been looking at internal wrangling within Labour over the Constitution. Holyrood Watcher notes that MSPs and MPs are not singing from the same hymnsheet. Tartan Hero notes that an intervention Scotland Office Minister David Cairns has pretty much caused the Constitutional Commission to run aground, and Jamie Hepburn MSP is dismayed by David Cairns’s approach.

Meanwhile, a meeting of Labour parliamentarians has led to a statement saying that they’re all going to work together to oppose the SNP. Jennifer Dunn is amused that it’s taken them nine months to decide that.

On a similar note, people are still considering who should replace Wendy Alexander has Labour Leader in the event of a vacancy. Calum Cashley has been supporting Helen Eadie for some time, but he’s now found her a potential running mate for a “dream ticket” – Councillor Terry Kelly! However, all in Team Eadie is not rosy, as they have a challenger in their midsts: the AEDJT is backing Airdrie & Shotts MSP Karen Whitefield…

Elsewhere, ASwaS believes that the primary reason for Scottish independence has already been achieved: Scotland could have its own entry in the Eurovision Song Contest, to the delight of Tartan Hero! However, IndyPal Two doesn’t think that’s necessarily a good thing.

But regardless of whether or not Scotland enters, you might not be able to listen to the Contest on a DAB radio for very much longer, with news that a number of channels will leave the medium, which is losing out to downloads and internet radio. Robert Sharp has the story.

Meanwhile, tolls on the Forth and Tay bridges are now a thing of the past: Louise is celebrating the decision. Edinburgh Labour Councillor Ewan Aitken is not.

On the subject of taxation, much has been made of the likely freeze in Council Tax. However, the agreement between the Government and Councils doesn’t apply to Scottish Water, who may increase water charges, leading to an increase in Council Tax bills after all! Kenny has been investigating…

Having looked at taxation, there now comes the usual post about spending, and this post by Garry raises an important question: if the Tories favour increased government spending in areas like policing and defence, and if wanting increased government spending makes you a leftist, are the Tories therefore a leftist party?

Worth a mention is this great post by Jeff who considers the employability of Westminster MPs in the real world. The numbers make for uncomfortable reading when you realise that these are the people who pass the laws that we have to follow.

And it’s nostalgia/reflection time: Friday marked the fifth anniversary of mass demonstrations against the then forthcoming Iraq War. Flying Rodent has a wry look at the ‘legacy’ of that day and the nature of public protest. Reactionary Snob has a sobering analysis at the statistics collected on the death toll the conflict.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Mr. Eugenides looks at Saudi efforts to stop people celebrating Valentines’ Day. Finally Woken notes that the men of Aberdeen opted to mark the most romantic day of the year at Pittodrie.

And on that note, parting may be such sweet sorrow, but that’s very much your lot for this week. Don’t forget you can leave nominations for inclusion next week by using the doowahdiddydiddy on the right, or dropping a line to Bye-de-bye!


  1. I can’t believe that DAB is in decline. I only recently bought one through BSG but it has changed the way I listen to broadcasts.

    If anything, there should be more on DAB, not less!