Hi folks! I’m sure crossword fans will get the post title, but there’s nothing cryptic about what we’re leading with this week, as Wendy Alexander resigned, failing even to emulate the staying power of Iain Duncan Smith. The BBC’s Brian Taylor has a resumÃ© of the tale.
However, the general tone of the blogosphere seems to reflect the lack of a Labour presence in it: hostility seems to be the order of the day. Calum Cashley and Richard Thomson both condemn Wendy for blaming everyone but herself for her downfall. Rhythmaning asks why she went yesterday and not in December. Andy also looks at the timing, and where Labour go from here, but reckons that the SNP wanted her to stay in charge. This is seconded by Jeff, who argues that it’s because he wanted her to stay that she was right to go.
Man About the House argues that her own ego finally did her in, while Bernard Salmon suggests that it wasn’t the donations row that killed her off in the end, but her own poor performance as Leader. Shuggy believes that she’d have been a stronger Leader had she faced a contest, while Angus Nicolson argues that she had the potential to be great, but was surrounded by intellectual pygmies. A similar point is made over at Political Dissuasion, where Wendy is compared to the Tories pre-Cameron, the SNP under John Swinney, the English football team under Steve McLaren and Hearts under Stephen Frail: their own abilities didn’t matter; it was the squad around them that caused the downfall.
There is some sympathy, however. Holyrood Watcher detects an air of self-pity about Wendy Alexander, though doesn’t think it’s unjustified. The Big Beast of Tory Bloggery Iain Dale suggests that it was the complex rules about expenses that are to blame. However, one of the most interesting posts comes from her former election agent, Terry Kelly who does think it’s the SNP’s fault that she’s gone, but shares with us his recollections of meeting her, supporting her and working with her. One of the most thoughtful comes from Alex Massie, who believes that this scandal gets far too much attention, while real scandals, like the state of Scotland’s schools, how public money is spent, and an erosion of civil liberties, get far too little.
Speaking of Gordon Brown, it’s now one full year since he took office as Prime Minister, and the talk is generally negative. Shuggy isn’t impressed with Brown, or Alistair Darling, but reckons that attempts to blame the fact that both are Scottish are wrong. Jeff takes a look at how Brown is, erm, celebrating the anniversary. Over at Ideas of Civilisation, there’s a detailed look at why things have gone wrong for the PM.
And it’s not been a good anniversary after the Henley By-Election, where the Labour candidate lost his deposit and came fifth, behind the Greens and BNP. Scottish Tory Boy notes the LibDem optimism prior to the poll, while Bernard Salmon thinks his party’ campaign wasn’t great, but notes that talk of it has been eclipsed by Labour’s dreadful showing. While over at Two Doctors, James celebrates the result for the Greens.
And it’s not over yet for Gordon Brown: there’s now likely to be a By-Election in Glasgow East, with sitting MP David Marshall’s health getting the better of him. David Linden reckons that the SNP can win the seat, overturning Marshall’s five-figure majority in the process. Grant notes that the Tories won Crewe & Nantwich on a 17% swing, so a 22% swing isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, while Jamie Hepburn MSP thinks that in the current political climate the SNP can ‘poll very well’ and speculates that this is the ideal opportunity for Jack McConnell to resign his seat at Holyrood in advance of heading to Malawi. ASWaS argues that whatever the outcome, it won’t look good for Labour, while Jeff wants the SNP to select Elaine C. Smith as the Party’s candidate. Despite being a Unionist, Mountjoy wants an SNP victory and thins that any other result would be crazy. However, Kez flies the flag for Labour, arguing that the party doesn’t fear a By-Election, and belives that descriptions of the Labour Party as ‘in turmoil’ are wide of the mark, with the situation in Zimbabwe being real turmoil.
Back to more local matters now, and Harriet Harman’s proposed Bill to enforce positive discrimination. Ewan Watt believes it’ll fuel resentment, while at Political Dissuasion, we are reminded that positive discrimination is still discrimination.
There’s a dismayed look at the standard of Scottish political discourse over at Ideas of Civilisation, while Boxthejack wonders why Christians describe themselves as politically apathetic. That’s a tag that certainly not be applied to religious activists in Romania, who, as Cabalamat reports, are mounting a legal challenge to a Government decision allowing an 11-year-old rape victim to have an abortion.
On lighter matters, Jeff looks at how a row between Scottish Labour spin doctor Simon Pia and STV reporter Michael Crow highlights the poor relationship between Labour and the press. However, Polly Toynbee is still clearly ‘on-message’, as Cassilis reports. Meanwhile, Julie Hepburn looks at Labour’s decision to hire a psychiatrist to analyse their performance at Holyrood.
Meanwhile, in the midst of the Wendy Alexander frenzy, we’ve overlooked the fact that one Labour Group does now have a new Leader: Andrew Burns is now the Leader of the Opposition on City of Edinburgh Council. His predecessor Ewan Aitken offers warm congratulations, while we have this post from the man himself. He also gets a warm welcome at Matt’s Mic.
Speaking of Edinburgh, the trams are one again a talking point. Over at A Scandal and A Disgrace, the talk is of local businesses suffering, while Calum Cashley has some questions for the people in charge, but they don’t appear to have any answers.
Staying with public transport, Scott tried to work out how to get from Annan to Glasgow Central with the ‘help’ of the National Rail website, while ASWaS waxes lyrical about the new Stirling-Alloa line.
David McDonald looks at ‘popcorning’, one of the less known (but no less terrifying) aspects of nuclear missiles, while Bishop Hill makes the case against recycling. Scott looks at the proposed Damages (Asbestos-related Conditions) (Scotland) Bill and thinks it’s more to do with the Government wanting to be seen to be doing something than anything else.
Elsewhere, Fitaloon is horrified that Government plans to tackle binge drinking could spell the end of the free dram at the end of distillery tours. Clairwil is sick of benefit claimants being demonised.
Meanwhile, Misssy M reflects on the joys of taking her young daughter to the cinema, and Gordon McLean has a brush with beverage-related death. Cat deals with the etiquette of a crush, while Kez was preparing for a fancy dinner and wasn’t sure what to talk about.
She should probably avoid talking like the women described by Alastair, who also brings us tales of an unfortunate typo. A less unfortunate, but no less amusing, typo is spotted by John.
And no Roundup is complete without a spot of navel-gazing. Flying Rodent compares bloggery to a rather charming image, while Big Rab looks at why he blogs.
Finally, bloggers might fancy registering with the Local Blog Directory.
That’s your lot for this week. Stephen Glenn will be in the hot seat next week, and you can nominate posts by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or filling out the shawaddywaddytwiddlydee on the right. Bye-de-bye!