Britishness, Barack and Blah

Hi folks! Following last week’s brief outage, the Roundup is back to its Sunday slot, and bouncier than ever.

Anyway, we start this week’s trawl through the blogosphere with plans for a Britishness Day, as put forward by UK Immigration Minister Liam Byrne. Byrne suggested that it could be tied in with an existing holiday, earmarking the Summer Bank Holiday at the end of August. Unfortunately, this isn’t a Bank Holiday in Scotland, where it’s more common to take a day off at the beginning of the month, so it pretty much defeats the purpose of a ‘British’ Day. Fitaloon points out that even the first Monday isn’t necessarily a Public Holiday everywhere in Scotland, with some parts of the country opting not to take a day off then. Alex Massie, meanwhile, suggests that the actual date doesn’t matter: it’s just not British to flaunt your Britishness!

However, there were some local festivals this week, and Ewan Aitken reflects on the presence of a market at the Leith Festival, while Julie Hepburn reports on Condorrat Gala Day.

Meanwhile, some commentators have suggested that ‘Tax Freedom Day’ – the point at which we’ve earned more money in a year than we’ll pay in tax – should be a holiday. Cassilis explains why it doesn’t mean much.

On the subject of money coming into Government coffers, Kez takes a look at SNP policy on oil money, and doesn’t like what she sees. While on the subject of spending that money, David Farrer notes that Frank Field has got confused between free personal care – which Scottish pensioners get – and a free place in a care home – which Scottish pensioners don’t get, while Jeff challenges the notion that everyone in Scotland gets free education. And Clairwil has a book recommendation on the subject of government spending.

Staying briefly with monetary policy, Alyn Smith MEP reports on the Danish Government’s plans to hold a referendum on joining the Euro, though following the scandal involving Tory MEPs this week, perhaps “Filthy Lucre” wasn’t the best post title to use.

And on the subject of votes taking place in other countries, we finally have a Democratic nominee for the US Presidency, in the shape of Senator Barack Obama, who has fried my spell-checker. Anyway, Bookdrunk isn’t overly impressed by former Tory spin-doctor Amanda Platell’s criticisms of the Senator from Illinois, Robert Sharp takes a look at Obama’s internet-based fundraising approach, suggesting that it could be a model for future campaigns which never quite repeat the success of the original.

Meanwhile, while we’re thinking about politics online, Simon Dickson at Puffbox takes a look at the presence of UK political parties on the Net. And Holyrood Watcher takes a long, hard, unimpressed look at the new Scotland Performs website, which judges the state of the nation against 45 indicators.

Meanwhile, official communication wasn’t at its finest this week, with the Scottish Government accidentally telling journalists that Enterprise Minister Jim Mather’s answer to a question on drugs in prisons was “Blah”. Well, these things will happen when Mercury is retrograde! Anyway, Andrew Burns raises a smile, though wishes that responses from City of Edinburgh Council were that informative.

But communication has been a big thing at Holyrood, with Environment Minister Mike Russell being surprisingly honest about a Parliamentary debate, as noted over at Ideas of Civilisation. Such a blatant display of truthfulness is rare in politics, however, and Calum Cashley notes Labour’s assertions that a row has broken out between the Scottish Government and CoSLA over ring-fencing. As Calum tells us, this came as news to many people, particularly the Scottish Government and CoSLA.

While we’re in the realms of the process stories, Scottish Tory Boy reports on a Labour adviser who may or may not be quitting, there’s a discussion at Ideas of Civilisation about possible changes to expense rules turning Regional MSPs into ‘second-class’ parliamentarians, and Ewan Aitken gives us a good insight into some of the things politicians come up against in their day-to-day lives. And the Councillor himself gets some praise from Fay Young, for his part in bringing about Poetry in St. Andrew Square.

Meanwhile, Midlothian Council got its brief day in the sun, with LibDem Councillor Katie Moffat defecting to Labour, giving them a majority in the Council chamber. Andrew Burns wishes that a LibDem on Edinburgh Council would follow suit, while I wonder what state the LibDems must be in when they’re losing Councillors to Labour. Staying with the LibDems, Bernard Salmon notes that Nick Clegg has described the party’s candidate in the forthcoming Henley By-Election as “excellent”, a description given to LibDem candidates in practically every By-Election for the last five years, making him wonder just how you define “excellent” in those circumstances.

In other news, Lesley Hinds looks at how demand for Council housing appears to have shot up, with a massive rush of applicants for the sort of flat that the Council couldn’t give away a couple of years ago. And UK Transport Minister Tom Harris MP wonders why SNP MPs were voting against Crossrail for London.

Staying with Westminster, and Bill Cameron attacks the ‘just in case’ defence for extending the time limit for detention without trial to 42 days, while Stephen Glenn notes that Gordon Brown doesn’t want to make this policy an issue of confidence in the Government.

Meanwhile, Stewart McDonald takes a baffled look at Dunkin’ Donuts’ decision to pull an ad featuring chef Rachael Ray, following complaints that it’s an endorsement of terrorism, on the grounds that she’s wearing a keffiyeh, and Yasser Arafat used to wear them.

On asylum, Jacq Kelly wonders why NHS Scotland can’t make itself available to asylum seekers when NHS Wales can, while David McDonald notes that a lot is being done to make life better for asylum seekers, but there still needs to be more.

Elsewhere, Niall wonders if banning knives will actually solve violent crime, while Mr. Eugenides takes RMT Secretary Bob Crow to task for blaming Boris Johnson after the party to mark the last night of alcohol being allowed on the Tube led to RMT members being spat at. And Shuggy lists the reasons why Guardian columnist George Monbiot’s plan to perform a citizen’s arrest on former US Under-secretary of State John Bolton at the Hay Festival was just plain daft.

And that marks the beginning of MSM time: Flying Rodent trails the launch of Standpoint magazine, while Alex Massie explains why Gary Lineker is an idiot, a tag which you’re apparently not allowed to give to commenters on the BBC’s Have Your Say site, according to FR.

Meanwhile, Richard Havers is baffled by the priorities given (or not given) by BBC Scotland to various stories, when economic issues like the future of the textile industry in the Borders even manage to get noticed on ITV Lookaround, but don’t get even a mention on Reporting Scotland. And Reluctant Hero suggests that Labour complaints about how the media are treating them now are a bit rich when only a year ago, the Sun was depicting the SNP emblem as a hangman’s noose.

And finally, let’s wrap things up with a bit of bloglove from Jeff. We love you too.

That’s your lot for this week. You know the drill by now: you can nominate posts for next week using the flibbertywotsit on the right, or by sending a message to scottishroundup@gmail.com. Bye-de-bye!

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