Hi folks! It’s amazing what gets people wound up these days. Lord Goldsmith suggests that there should be an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen in Schools, and foom! The whole blogosphere goes up. Michael Greenwell, BellgroveBelle, Malc, Louise, This is Alba, Ewan Watt, Ewan Aitken and Bill Cameron all line up to attack Lord Goldsmith’s plans. Flying Rodent reckons that SNP Ministers had a party when they saw the proposals.
Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell is also wound up about homosexuality. This in turn has wound bloggers up as well. Clairwil isn’t impressed, and then suggests that the best way to take revenge on the Bishop would be to make him a gay icon. Elsewhere, Shuggy compares Devine to Enoch Powell â€“ hopefully this will wind up Devine if he reads it, as Powell ended his political career on the Ulster Unionist benches. Bookdrunk looks at just how ridiculous Devine’s rant was. Kezia joins in the attack and then looks at the reaction of the differing political parties. Unfortunately this response didn’t go down too well in certain quarters, as I attack both sides in what can only be described as a dark day for anger management â€“ though things (by which I mean, I) have calmed down now. Andy makes largely the same points as I do, only he is slightly more concise and far less sweary, so he’s the best person to read for the sanitised version.
But Devine’s rant might just have proven the Iranian Ambassador right when he started waxing lyrical about similarities between his nation and Scotland. Alex Massie reflects on the Ambassador’s comments, but Holyrood Watcher knows the truth: they’re kissing up to Scotland so our football team will visit them! Not sure what they’d make of the Tartan Army though…
Staying with football, Alastair is exasperated by the different levels of coverage the Champions’ League draw â€“ featuring four English teams but none from the other nations of the British Isles â€“ and the UEFA Cup draw â€“ featuring Rangers but no teams from England â€“ received. This, in turn, gives me an excuse to explain the ins and outs of the UEFA Access List and why the outcome of the Champions’ League still matters to Scottish football.
There’s not really all that great a semantic leap from the Champions’ League to money, so this seems a good time to mention Chancellor Alistair Darling’s first Budget. Mr. Eugenides attempts to liveblog the thing, and regrets it. Iain Rubie Dale notes how the Scotch Whisky industry has been hit by the 55p increase in duty. Julie Hepburn compares Darling’s budget to Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney’s Budget, and reckons that Swinney comes out on top. RfS isn’t overly enamoured with either of them, but Edinburgh Labour Leader Ewan Aitken welcomes the Budget, and attacks both the Tories and the SNP.
But SNP finance policy, particularly the Local Income Tax, comes under the microscope. Angus Nicolson disagrees with the policy. And in the topsy-turvy world that is the Scottish Blogosphere, Holyrood Watcher believes that he would pay far less under the LIT, and therefore opposes it, while Richard Thomson reckons that he would pay quite a bit more than he currently does, and therefore supports it. It’s nice to know we’re all so right-minded!
Meanwhile, Duncan takes a wider look at the whole principle of Income Tax, in light of the Libertarian Party’s proposal to abolish it.
Speaking of wasted money, MPs’ expenses are still under scrutiny. Garry wonders why MPs find it so much more difficult than the rest of us to get receipts for things. Mr. Eugenides points out that the expense claims are funded by the taxpayers, who therefore have a right to know what their money is being spent on, he then goes on to quote from the John Lewis List which details how much MPs can claim for various pieces of furniture for the second home they have to establish in London. Clairwil, meanwhile, notes that benefit claimants have to rely on the Argos List instead, and wonders why MPs get a posher version.
Staying with the theme, Bishop Hill has discovered that MPs with lower staffing costs are actually more likely to reply to letters on time. Calum Carr, on the other hand, notes that his MSP is quite good at responding to correspondence from him, but that NHS Lothian are not so good at dealing with correspondence from his MSP.
Elsewhere in the world of dodgy politicians, The Hard Sell notes that former UK Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has now joined BT, who have worked with her before.
On a similar note, Trumpton bounced back, with Holyrood’s Local Government Committee publishing its report on the affair, which accuses Alex Salmond of being ‘cavalier’ about procedures, though doesn’t suggest that rules were actually broken. Angus Nicolson welcomes the report and attacks the SNP members of the Committee â€“ including his own local MSP â€“ for dissenting from the parts that criticise the First Minister, accusing them of partisanship. On the other hand, Calum Cashley notes that the Government has been cleared of any wrongdoing, and attacks the opposition members of the Committee for spending so long on the matter, accusing them of a vendetta against the Government. Ian Hamilton QC, meanwhile, gives out gold stars all round: he praises Alex Salmond for trying so hard to get the Trump development to come to his constituency, and praises Committee Convener and Labour MSP Duncan McNeil for pursuing the issue with such vigour the way Hamilton believes an Opposition is supposed to.
Speaking of long-running sagas, Scott has the latest chapter of the Sheridan soap opera. Maybe we should give them their own reality TV show, in the style of â€œThe Osbournesâ€?
Channel 4 would certainly bid for it. But Robert Sharp is wondering what the station is actually for these days.
Back to the notion of stories that just seem to keep going and going and going, Alastair thinks we might be seeing the Shirley McKie saga head slowly towards a conclusion, nine years after she was acquitted of perjury.
Staying with crime, Reactionary Snob looks at the difference between how the media have handled the disappearances of Shannon Matthews (who was found on Friday) and Madeleine McCann (who is still missing), and wonders if the respective social class of the two children’s families is at the heart of it.
Over at A Scandal and A Disgrace, we learn immigrants are instructed to make their own way to detention centres, while Mike Power reflects on the apparent suicide of Greater Manchester Police chief Michael Todd.
Cassilis takes a look at how Scotland views Adam Smith, and suggests that there’s a rational, even-handed quality to Scottish nationalism. Kezia Dugdale takes a look at some of the contributions to the National Conversation website and suggests that there isn’t.
Meanwhile, Clairwil is exasperated at the primary education curriculum, Alex Massie pokes fun at Hillary Clinton’s claim that she brought peace to Northern Ireland, Jeff explains what has to happen for him to start voting Labour, and David Farrer has shredded Annabel Goldie.
We end on some navel-gazing â€“ we are bloggers, after all. Finally Woken looks at the rights and wrongs of blogging anonymously. John notes that a couple of bloggers – Grant Thoms & Mark McDonald – have suspended activities for a little while, while Neil Craig is still blogging but his site is apparently banned in South Lanarkshire.
We have a blogging birthday to celebrate as well: Cllr Fraser Macpherson started putting his exploits as a LibDem Councillor in Dundee online two years ago. Councillor’s blogs usually follow one of two paths: the first is not to focus primarily on general issues, sometimes inspired by their work on the Council, sometimes not, and while we might not get a feel for how the blogging Councillor spends his or her day, we do understand a little better what makes them tick. The second path is to focus on what they’re up to as a Councillor: where they’re going, what they’re doing, who they’re talking to. We might not find out much about the Councillor’s view on, say, the Lisbon Treaty, but it gives residents a chance to keep tabs on what their representative is doing in their name. Fraser Macpherson’s blog is a great example of the second way of doing things, and any Councillor looking to take to their keyboard could do far worse than read his site to see how he goes about it.
Finally, Matt Wardman has started a weekly roundup of what’s going on in the various parliaments that affect life in the UK. This week, the Holyrood Herald was inaugurated and is under the care of a smart, funny, dashing and drop-dead-sexy (not to mention modest) chap by the name of Will Patterson.
And on that note, that’s your lot for this week: next week Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting takes the helm. You can, as always, send in your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the dooferytwiddlywidget on the right. Bye-de-bye!