Labour’s by-election woes and the SNP’s SFT

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s roundup, my first back from yet another of my little hiatuses (hiatii?).

The story of the week was probably the Crewe and Nantwich by-election. It does appear to signify curtains for Gordon Brown’s Prime Ministerial career. Scottish Politics points out that all political careers end in failure and looks at Gordon Brown’s legacy.

For Surreptitious Evil, it’s a case of “at last”. Political Dissuasion sees Gordon Brown as that person who just doesn’t get the message that it’s over.

Shuggy foresaw it — he described Labour’s tactics as “how to lose the next election“. Labour should give that man a job.

David Farrer is surprised — that Labour still had 30% of the votes.

Anseo at North to Leith analyses the rumours that Alan Milburn is waiting in the wings to challenge Gordon Brown’s leadership.

Jeff sums up the whole situation, complete with a little roundup of posts from the blogosphere on the position of the Labour Party. He also constructively suggests a way back for Labour.

From the Labour point of view, Andrew Burns takes the honest approach which I guess is the only way Labour can credibly deal with this result. A by-election is one thing, but coupled with poor opinion poll ratings and a thrashing in the local elections a few weeks ago, it spells disaster for Labour.

In the Holyrood political world, the main political story of the week was the SNP’s new plan for financing projects. For Holyrood Watcher, it’s a dog’s breakfast. Angus Nicholson reckons that the Scottish Future’s Trust won’t be any more efficient than PFI. But it has meant the creation of a new quango (weren’t the SNP meant to be getting rid of them?).

Kezia Dugdale calls it Diet PFI and points out that it won’t raise enough money for the SNP to meet its manifesto commitments. As does Ewan Aitken who says SFT would “embarrass the back of a fag packet”.

While we’re on the subject, Andrew Burns is getting set to grade the SNP on the progress on its education commitments.

Staying with education for a bit, and a couple of posts to think about when it comes to attitudes towards “intelligence”. Alex Massie argues that Chris Woodhead is wrong to say that the arts and sports are wasteful “fripperies” that schools shouldn’t provide. And he’s even more wrong to suggest that profit-seeking schools inevitable will eradicate them.

Meanwhile, John Connell points out that there is more to real intelligence than the narrow notion of the IQ.

Clairwil is fed up with her workplace. Her boss seems to want poor people to remain on benefits and have their enterprise sapped out of them. Clairwil now wants to set up her own business. I hope it goes well for her.

It looks as though the SNP are no less nannies than Labour are. Neil Craig points out what will go wrong with the SNP’s plan to ban the display of cigarettes in shops. Flying Rodent isn’t too happy either.

Meanwhile, Mark McDonald has an idea to try and help people sober up. Although if people wanted to sober up, I doubt they’d be in the pub…

The database state, huh? Well, there were a couple of stories this week to remind us that it’s not just the state that we have to fear when it comes to databases. And given Labour’s public IT cock-ups, you’d think that the Conservatives would be doing all they can to avoid this sort of thing. Of course, you can’t trust them to, as Scott points out.

Meanwhile, Louise is upset about companies keeping her credit card details on a database. A reminder that it’s not just the state which is responsible for the database culture.

But of course, the state itself is still a danger. Bill Cameron reacts to news that the Home Office is considering maintaining a database of all phone calls and emails in the UK.

For Holyrood Watcher, the logistics are just too much for the Home Office to bear: 1,000,000,000,000 emails is a lot to store on a database. Mr Eugenides takes the sarcastic approach… which is just about the only way, I guess.

David Cameron is promising to scrap the Barnett Formula. Yawn… not that old one again. Holyrood Watcher is sceptical.

In the wake of the news that the prosecution against a truth-speaking teenager has been dropped, Scott takes the opportunity to say that Scientology is a dangerous cult. And I’ll say it as well: Scientology is a dangerous cult. Meanwhile, Cabalamat tries to work out how to deal with religion.

Robert Sharp is fed up with journalists who use the hoary old “I found so many results on Google for x” cliché. The number of results is, of course, meaningless.

I’ve been trying to avoid Cherie Blair’s biography and I think I’ve been partially successful. However Richard Havers wonders who’s to blame for the inclusion of the spicier elements of the book.

Colin Campbell has unearthed the great Scottish kilt myth… as Lord Dacre saw it.

And Gordon McLean wonders, do children still play in the street? The answer is, of course not — their parents won’t let them.

That’s it for this week. I will keep the identity of next week’s rounder-upper a secret for the time being. That is because I like it to be an enigma, rather than the fact that I couldn’t organise a brewery in a piss-up, or something like that. Rest assured, though, the roundup will still be here whatever. So get those nominations in, either by using the doo-dah magical box thingy on the right there, or simply by emailing us at

I’m particularly looking for some more non-political stuff because it’s good to break it up a bit, so if you know of any blogs that you think I’ve overlooked please do tell me! Thanks.


  1. Do all political careers end in failure? Tony Blair chose the time of his own departure and clearly doesn’t think he failed. Gwyneth Dunwoody’s political career is obviously now over, but most people report she was successful right up until the end.