Hi folks! It’s been another weird and wonderful week in the Scottish blogosphere, and nothing is more weird and wonderful than the investigation into Tommy Sheridan. Until now, the Tanned One has been taking pelters, but there are the first signs of a backlash developing, with a Solidarity spokesman decrying the inquiry as a ‘witch-hunt’. Gus Abraham wonders if the News of the World have faced any form of investigation for bugging an MSP, as Sheridan was at the time. Seeing as one side in Sheridan’s original proceedings against the newspaper had to have been lying, Iain Rubie Dale asks if Tommy’s former comrades in the SSP â€“ who testified against him â€“ have had the police knocking on their door. Ian Hamilton QC launches a brutal attack on Lothian & Borders Police, accusing them of conducting a vendetta against justice itself.
However, Scott disagrees, arguing that Lord Turnbull, the judge in the original trial, called for an investigation. And Scott also reports on a new twist in the saga: that Gail Sheridan (Tommy’s wife), has been suspended from her job at BA following allegations that she may have been going home with the miniatures. Surreptitious Evil, with tongue firmly in cheek, points out that Mrs Tommy was simply putting the Socialist principle of â€œfrom each according to his ability, to each according to his needâ€ into action, and that anyone married to the Leader of Solidarity would need a stiff drink. But Gail does have someone in her corner: despite sticking the boot in about Mrs Sheridan’s taste in handbags, IndyGal compares Gail’s alleged wrongdoing and her subsequent arrest with Wendy Alexander’s breach of campaign fundraising law and her subsequent let-off.
Speaking of Donorgate, the story finally fizzled out completely this week with the news that the Electoral Commission won’t be taking action against Charlie Gordon, the Labour MSP for Glasgow Cathcart who managed to kick off the whole scandal. Malc in the Burgh is exasperated but not surprised, and Tartan Hero is horrified that the Commission thinks that seven years isn’t enough time for politicians to understand the law as it stands. However, a new allegation has popped up involving Labour MSP for West Renfrewshire and Deputy Presiding Officer Trish Godman. Kevin Williamson reacts with anger to news that the MSP and her husband bought a flat in Edinburgh from her son â€“ who has just been jailed for fraud in the US â€“ for less than half the market value just after he had been extradited to Houston. These stories are turning into a political equivalent of â€œWhack-a-gopherâ€ for the Labour press office!
In the same post, Kevin also goes on to discuss the current row over the Speaker of the Commons and MP for Glasgow North East Michael Martin’s expenses, and Angus Nicolson is appalled that Martin has used Air Miles racked up on Parliamentary business to take his family â€“ including his son, Paul Martin, the MSP for Glasgow Springburn â€“ to New York for Christmas. Tartan Hero notes that the Tories have declared open season on Martin Senior anyway and that a case like this isn’t helping him- indeed, Malc reckons the Speaker may be considering his position – while Calum Cashley argues that Martin Junior should have declared the gift on the Register of Interests.
Speaking of fathers helping out sons, eyebrows have been raised that the Guardian gave Max Gogarty, son of freelance journalist Paul Gogarty, space on their website to write about his entirely normal gap year. Clairwil is not impressed.
This leads us into our usual look at the MSM, with two posts from Garry: one of which takes a look at the comments policy on The Sun website, and the other defends the BBC iPlayer’s seven day time limit.
However, other bloggers have found their posts under scrutiny this week as well. Last week, we linked to this post by Jeff about the honesty or otherwise of our MPs. Anseo responds, arguing that story may not be entirely correct.
Meanwhile, Kezia Dugdale criticises the Government for not choosing to ban snares, and highlights in rather graphic fashion what they can do to animals. ASwaS is unimpressed, arguing that pictures of dead animals are no substitute for action which Labour have called for but until now haven’t taken.
From inhumane treatment of animals to inhumane treatment of other humans, and Garry reacts to the UK Government’s admission that extraordinary rendition flights were refuelled on British soil.
Staying with foreign affairs, and Alyn Smith MEP has toasted Kosovo’s declaration of independence. Ewan Watt has not: he argues that the Independent’s support for UK and US recognition is hypocritical, and forecasts this is a boost for secessionist movements across the world. Tartan Hero agrees that it is a boost for pro-independence movements, but sees that as a good thing. Meanwhile, Kezia Dugdale is disgusted by SNP support for Kosovo’s independence now, given that Alex Salmond attacked NATO’s bombing campaign against Serbia over the province in 1999 as an â€œact of unpardonable follyâ€. However, Richard Thomson argues that SNP predictions that the campaign wouldn’t protect civilians from Slobodan Milosevic and that Kosovo was headed for independence as a result of military intervention were proven right.
While on the other side of the world, bloggers are saying â€œÂ¡Adios!â€ to Fidel Castro, who as from today, will no longer be President of Cuba. Alastair takes a look at some of the levels the US have gone to in order to oust El Jefe, Louise celebrates his departure, as does RfS, who notes that one of Scotland’s biggest cheerleaders for Castro is strangely quiet on the subject.
To Cuba’s neighbour now, and comparisons are being drawn between US Presidential candidates and UK politicians. Richard Havers notes that Barack Obama is able to inspire his audiences, and is saddened that no UK politicians can do the same, while Alex Massie compares Gordon Brown to Hillary Clinton and finds them very much alike, though that’s not a good thing.
Staying in the realm of foreign political figures, Angus Nicolson suggests that the world’s religions aren’t all that different, given the amount of madness in some of their followers: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is fuelling speculation that the ‘Missing Imam’ is about to return some 1,000 years after his disappearance while hardliners in Israel are accusing gay men of causing earthquakes. Anyone who asks if the Earth moved will receive Victoria Wood’s response (â€œNo, but the wardrobe door came open!â€).
Meanwhile in Europe, the Spanish election campaign is now in full swing and as part of their bid for re-election, the PSOE are promising the employment of more native English speakers as language teachers, as Bill Cameron reports. This won’t please Alyn Smith MEP who is unhappy at the linguistic Anglicisation of Europe. On a similar theme, AEDJT wants to see us improving our foreign language skills.
Sticking with education, and Schools Minister Maureen Watt has suggested that school pupils ought to be taught bloggery: Mr. Eugenides details what students would learn from him. I’m not totally happy with the proposal.
And while we’re on a pedagogical theme, Cllr Fraser Macpherson reckons that the Presiding Officer could do with a refresher course in numeracy. To be fair, the PO was always going to struggle with the basics, given that he went to a bog-standard dump of a school â€“ Eton!
Moving on to figures, and Julie Hepburn is unimpressed with the profits being raked in by British Gas while their customers’ bills are increasing.
Staying with business, Ewan Watt is displeased that the Government has nationalised Northern Rock, and questions whether the UK is still operating a free market system. Jeff, meanwhile, is just thrilled that he (along with the rest of us) now part-owns a bank.
Meanwhile, Bernard Salmon accuses the SNP Government of forcing local Councils to cut funding for services as a result of the decision to freeze Council Tax. ASwaS, however, points out that the Councils that have done so get extra money for services from the Government.
And what should Councils spend their money on? Well, according to Mr. Eugenides there are proposals that they could pay for pubs to open their toilets up to non-customers, to make up for the lack of public conveniences. This brings a new meaning to the term ‘pan-handling’ if you ask me.
Finally, the killer ladybirds are heading to Scotland, but don’t worry, Flying Rodent reckons he can take them.
That’s your lot for this week, but I end on some good news… Duncan‘s sabbatical away from the Roundup is coming to an end (what do you mean, â€œThank f**k for that!â€?!), and he’ll be making a long-awaited return to the hot-seat next Sunday. As always, you can leave suggestions for inclusion via the diggiloodiggiley on the right, or with an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Bye-de-bye!