Recess? What recess?

Hi folks! With the MSPs off on their hollybobs, it’s tempting to think that bloggers will follow suit, and hang up their keyboards for a week or so. Wrong!

In fact, the Scottish blogosphere is as busy as ever, and with the Scottish Labour Conference taking place in Aviemore last weekend, why not? Kezia Dugdale takes a look at some of the speeches that didn’t make the news, and is impressed. Holyrood Watcher takes a look at Rhona Brankin’s speech on education policy, and isn’t. Calum Cashley goes over Wendy Alexander’s speech, and he isn’t impressed either.

However, the big thing to come out of Alexander’s speech was the line that appears to position Scottish Labour back on the Left as a ‘Socialist’ party. Ewan Aitken cheers the speech, but a number of bloggers have opted to hoot with derision: Gus wonders what exactly is socialist about Labour, Alastair reckons that Tony Blair hounded all the actual Socialists out years ago, and Cyber Nat considers some of the people connected with Labour now, and notes that they’re not all that dissimilar to the people having scorn heaped upon them in Aviemore last weekend. ASwaS joins the list of bloggers bemused at the ‘Socialist’ line, and manages to work in references to Doctor Who and the Eurovision Song Contest. These are both subjects close to my heart, so I am impressed. Finally, Jeff wonders if being Socialist is necessarily all it’s cracked up to be, anyway, while still questioning whether or not Wendy Alexander actually is one.

Meanwhile, both ASwaS and Julie Hepburn wonder what’s Socialist about getting rid of the 10p Income Tax band.

But the SNP are under the microscope this week, as well, with Councils up and down the country publishing their budgets. Bernard Salmon is concerned about the cuts in education budgets, while Kez looks at the cuts to services being planned by the LibDem/SNP-run Aberdeen City Council, and criticises the Government’s response. Louise reckons that reality is now beginning to bite for the SNP. On the other hand, Jeff reckons that John Swinney’s reaction is spot on and argues that Aberdonian Councillors are having to work with a financial mess left over from previous administrations, while Ewan Watt makes the point that it’s impossible for Councils to keep Council Tax down and spending up, and if people want the former, they should be questioning Councillors’ decisions to do the latter.

However, the SNP also come under criticism from Ewan Aitken, after a consultation rejected an SNP manifesto promise to give first-time buyers a £2,000 grant.

Elsewhere, Jim Millar takes a look at Tartan Week, and argues that it’s a good idea, but it’s not yet reaching its full potential. Angus Nicolson has this post about tourism in general, suggests that it’s a good thing, but shouldn’t be the be all and end all of the Western Isles economy. And on the subject of the Isles, Silversprite reckons that the doom and gloom stories about the Outer Hebrides are wide of the mark.

Meanwhile, planning issues rumble on: Iain Rubie Dale comments on Donald Trump’s pathological inability to keep his mouth shut for more than five seconds, and with Glasgow City Council’s planning committee approving plans for ‘Go Ape’ to be sited in Pollok Park, local residents are unhappy: a Save Pollok Park website has been set up, and Richard Leyton reports on a campaign meeting. Over at Ideas of Civilisation, there’s a look at the state of the planning system in general, and Jeff brings to our attention what will probably be the next big planning fiasco. Yup, it’s in Edinburgh.

Speaking of the capital, Hacksaw Jim Duggan has bad news about the state of local businesses, and places the blame squarely on the construction of the tram system. However, Lesley Hinds hails the launch of the Edinburgh International Festival 2008 programme.

Elsewhere, the Speaker of the Commons is still in trouble: Jeff looks at the latest row over expenses, as does Iain, who was not impressed with the Michael Martin’s handling of Wednesday’s PMQs either.

David Farrer has a novel idea to tackle anti-social behaviour in young people.

And the NHS comes under the spotlight: Calum Carr has two posts on his long-running battle with NHS Lothian. Over at Political Dissuasion there’s a look at the risk inherent in Gordon Brown’s plan to fight MRSA by having every hospital in England deep-cleaned. And Julie McAnulty looks at how the NHS differs in the respective nations of the UK, and suggests that the lack of proportional representation has had an impact on how the English NHS has developed.

This is something that has cropped up this week: David has a look at English civic institutions and English identity (also check out his post on the difficult position Labour have got into over devolution and independence). This now has added piquancy following the launch of the English Democrats’ Matt O’Connor’s campaign for Mayor of London. It’s been characterised as anti-Scottish racism by Kezia.

Back in Scotland, Colin Campbell is exasperated at the time, energy and hand-wringing that has gone into an agreement to have the Saltire flown over public buildings. And David Linden has declared war on Siol nan Gaidheal, in a post that confirms my suspicion that David is very much at home in the blogosphere and should take to his keyboard far more often.

Back to the London Mayoral campaign now, and at Political Dissuasion, there’s talk of how a Boris Johnson victory would be a very bad thing. And Bookdrunk reacts to the news that the lead BNP candidate for the GLA has had to quit a disgusting comment about the crime of rape.

From xenophobes to asylum policy now, and Niall looks at the case of a man facing deportation back to Syria, where he’ll definitely face persecution, but it’s not clear whether it’ll be for being gay or for being Kurdish. And Flying Rodentgives us the facts about immigration in his usual style.

Over in the Republic of Ireland, Alex Massie reacts to Bertie Ahern’s announcement that he’s to resign as Taoiseach, while Mr. Eugenides reacts to the appointment of the rather dishy Alexander Stubb as Finland’s new Foreign Minister.

MSM time, now (it wouldn’t be the Roundup, otherwise, would it?). Ideas of Civilisation and Iain Rubie Dale run the rule over journalistic inaccuracies, while Holyrood Watcher wonders what point there was in the BBC sending George Alagiah to present the Six O’Clock News from the Zimbabwe/South Africa border. However, Craig offers a cautious welcome to the new look BBC website. Elsewhere, Kevin Williamson offers an obituary for Tommy Sheridan’s show on Talk 107, which has been axed, and Mr. Eugenides has a rundown of this year’s April Fool gags.

In other news, Shuggy isn’t impressed with the NUT’s plans to go on strike in England, while Anseo has a post defending those die-hard political activists known as the Tallymen. Tallypeople, surely? Surreptitious Evil welcomes the new coin designs, and Richard Thomson has this post about damn good coffee.

Yet there’s one voice of discord: Holyrood Watcher has dared to suggest that at times, Scottish politics can be “less than scintillating”. Shame on you, HW, shame on you!

Finally, a blogging birthday to celebrate: usually we mark people’s first or second anniversaries on here, but Bill’s Comment Page has reached the ripe old age of six. I suggest we have a whip-round to get Bill a carriage clock, or something.

And on that note, that’s your lot. You can, as always, point us in the direction of posts for next week’s Roundup by dropping us a line at or by using the hoobledooptwiddlypeep on the right. Bye-de-bye!


  1. Thanks for the name check but the link takes you to Alastair’s post and considering his dodgy heart I wouldn’t want to upset him.

    He should consider cybernisation.