Hi folks! Just when you think things are settling down and getting quieter, up pops something that throws everything into confusion. The good workers of Grangemouth Oil Refinery have done exactly that, and are now out on the picket line, as the unions and the employers, Ineos, place their naughty bits on the table and argue about whose are the biggest. Let’s face it, that’s what this is really about.
Anyway, despite the possibility that news of the strike could induce mass hysteria in Scotland and send motorists to the petrol pumps to fill their tank at grossly inflated prices, bloggers put their own private panic to one side briefly to take to their keyboards, and came up with some good stuff.
Richard Leyton isn’t overly affected by the strike but looks at what the workers are striking for and wonders if it’s worth it. Caron, meanwhile, looks at the actions of Ineos and has taken the unions’ side. Iain Rubie Dale takes what you might see as the more typical LibDem view of â€œA Plague on Both Your Housesâ€, arguing that both sides need to let ACAS have the final say.
With petrol supplies now potentially at risk, bloggers started considering the issue of panic-buying. Andrew Burns contrasts the Scottish Government’s message â€“ that there’s not going to be a shortage if everyone stick to their usual purchasing habits â€“ with the news that Lothian Buses are running out of fuel. Malc accuses the media of irresponsible reporting, which could lead to more people heading to the pumps to stock up. Reluctant Hero argues that panic-buying is pretty much inevitable, while Holyrood Watcher suggests that it’s actually pretty sensible to stockpile something when you think it’s going to be in short supply.
Meanwhile, the political response has also come under the spotlight: having accused the media of scaremongering, Malc levels the same charge against Nicol Stephen, following the LibDem Leader’s performance at First Minister’s Questions, while Richard Thomson notes that Wendy Alexander never even bothered to ask about the dispute. Jim Millar produces the most thoughtful post on the matter: a look at what this means for the independence debate, as he mulls over the UK Government’s actions â€“ or perceived lack of them â€“ to tackle the issue.
The last word on the petrol crisis, however, has to go to Flying Rodent, who wishes to calm the populace in his own unique way.
However, the populace is still somewhat cheesed off about the abolition of the 10% starting rate of income tax. Kezia defends the policy and Labour’s economic record. Unfortunately for her, she’s very much in the minority: Stephen Glenn is not impressed, neither is Rob Davidson, or, for that matter, This Is Alba.
Caron, meanwhile, reminds us that there are people struggling to make ends meet already who don’t need a tax rise, and Elizabeth Maginnis is blunt about the change: she damns it for making the poorest poorer.
However, as Kezia pointed out, some of those affected by the change will be able to claw money back through the tax credits system. But even this comes in for criticism: Cassilis notes the red tape inherent in getting tax credits, while Ewan Watt simply asks what’s so good about having more people claiming them.
Like Stephen, I just look back at Labour’s original announcement of the 10% rate, back in the 1997 Manifesto, and wonder why Labour is undoing its own actions.
Meanwhile, with the SNP Conference taking place at Heriot-Watt University last weekend (and I can confirm that if the buses do stop running, the Riccarton campus will be completely cut off from civilisation), bloggers have been reacting to Alex Salmond setting a target of 20 MPs for the Party at the next Westminster election. Calum Cashley looks at where those 20 MPs might represent, though Iain Rubie Dale is dismissive of the suggestion. Jeff, meanwhile has two posts looking at where the twenty constituencies could be, though his suggestions don’t go down all that well with Scottish Tory Boy. Not to be deterred, however, Jeff reckons he knows how to get whichever twenty seats the SNP fancy – celebrity candidates! And with the Scottish section of a recent UK-wide opinion poll putting the Labour behind the SNP, Richard Thomson reckons that the twenty-seat target isn’t completely beyond the realms of possibility.
Staying with the theme of SNP representation, there’s a post at Two Doctors questioning whether some of the party’s most hardcore standard-bearers on the internet, they so-called CyberNats, might actually turn people away from supporting them. Needless to say, CyberNat has other ideas.
Elsewhere, bloggers are musing about who they’d vote for in the London mayoral election, if they could. Bill Cameron would hold his nose and vote for Boris Johnson. Caron would give her first vote to Brian Paddick, and give a grudging second preference to Ken Livingstone. Bookdrunk is just dismayed at what candidates will say and do to get Londoners’ votes.
The small matter of the US Presidential Election also got people blogging: Andrew Burns notes that Hillary Clinton won the Pennsylvania Primary, but believes that a 9.2% margin of victory wasn’t enough for her to get back into the race, and the Democratic nomination will be going to Barack Obama. Frankly, I think he’s just saying that so that his hamster will end up as Obama’s running mate. Speaking of rodents, the Flying one considers Clinton’s campaign pledge to ‘obliterate’ Iran.
Staying with foreign affairs, and Mr. Eugenides has spotted a picture of some protesters who could have done to check the history books before they made their placard.
In other stories, Mike Smith and Almax noted the passing of jazz legend (and presenter of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue), Humphrey Lyttleton. I was thinking of putting one of Humph’s best lines here, but there are too many to choose from.
Staying with music, Frank McAveety is mourning the death of the independent music store, prompting Richard Havers to point out that the Labour MSP is wasting Parliamentary time complaining about market forces, as music lovers head online. Though when they do, they might encounter problems, with Cabalamat looking at Microsoft’s dying DRM system, â€œPlaysForSureâ€. Somehow, when I see that name, I just know that it actually doesn’t. And if you’ve got hold of bagpipe music, believing it to be traditional, Colin Campbell might be about to drop a very unwelcome bombshell.
Jeff Zycinski has been to a lecture by former MP Brian Wilson on the Scottish newspaper industry, while Duncan wonders if linking your blog with your Twitter account and your Facebook page is just turning the Internet into a massive echo chamber. Personally, I get around the problem by not touching Twitter with a ten-foot pole, and using my Facebook account primarily to bitch about my co-workers.
Or if you want stuff to get out into the open, you could just leave it in the hands of the Government, which, according to Mr. H, has suffered 100 data losses in the last six months as a result of security breaches, and only been able to recover the information in three of the cases.
Now that we’re onto statistics, Niall is dismayed by figures which show that more money was donated to a donkey sanctuary than the combined income of all the domestic abuse charities. Stephen Glenn, meanwhile, produces his own statistic: the percentage of each Party’s MPs who employ family members. As Stephen admits, however, the SNP and DUP figures are skewed by their small respective sample sizes.
Elsewhere, Angry Steve, last week’s rounder-upper, has hit on a radical way of getting more people onto trains without reducing petrol supplies to zero: make the fares cheaper! And Alastair looks at the perils of flying Continental.
And if that hasn’t given you nasty images, I’m going to leave you with this one provided by Holyrood Watcher, who refers to External Affairs Minister Linda Fabiani’s choice of apparel while at school.
Anyway, I’ll leave you all alone with your sick bags now. Don’t forget that you can submit posts for next week’s Roundup using the zippetydoodah on the right, or by dropping us a cod to firstname.lastname@example.org. Bye-de-bye!