The middle of Wendy (think about it…)

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 resumé 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.

Meanwhile, there’s also talk about how this affects Gordon Brown. Ewan Watt suspects that he was actually the one who told her to go. Fitaloon hopes that Brown’s resignation is next.

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.

Speaking of which, Stewart McDonald argues that the UN have to go in and arrest Robert Mugabe for crimes against humanity. Jennifer Dunn notes South African President Thabo Mbeki’s inaction.

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.

Kez speculates at what a Scottish Cabinet reshuffle might look like, and Holyrood Watcher looks at the proposed changes to Westminster expense rules and isn’t impressed.

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, or filling out the shawaddywaddytwiddlydee on the right. Bye-de-bye!


  1. “Middle of Wendy” The letter n? Ok, I genuinely just got it there. Very clever….

    And great job with the rounduup Will as you definitely drew the short straw collating all this madness together with less than a day’s notice!

  2. Dear Stephen,

    You may find some of my favorite videos/ play lists quite interesting.

    No wonder “Clairwil” is angry at what is happening. I am livid at the stupidity of some politicians who have believed and trusted in so-called “innovations” produced by a very troubled American “insurer” [now re branded “benefits” and “rehabilitation” company] to “help” reform anything in the UK, let alone the NHS and welfare access.

    It is very sad, that one of the most ruthless and corrupt American based “insurers,” has managed to influence the British Government.

    Their brand of commercial deceit has been going on throughout the UK, as far back as 1999, where it was estimated, at that time, there was approx. 4,000 policyholders forced onto welfare by its bad faith “insurance” practices.

    I wonder whatever happened to all those families.

    Just as millions of privately “insured” American’s are crying-out for Universal Health care, both major political parties here in the U.K., embrace private “insurers” involvement in the NHS and welfare “reform” process.

    This company’s invention “Pathways to Work” may assist some of the able-bodied unemployed people back into minimum wage type jobs but God help us all, when this company’s trained and certified “assessors” are deployed to “assess” the chronically or mentally ill and/or disabled people using another one of its inventions; the non-medical “bio-psycho-social” model.

    The medical experts [some of them ex-DWP employees] in this “rehab” camp, claim disease does not exist, it is all in the mind and work is good for you.

    These very bold academic theories appear medically unchallenged but have nevertheless managed to change welfare policy throughout the United Kingdom.

    Did you know private companies can be paid up to 62,000 pounds per head for this non-medical “rehab” service?

    Look at the numbers targeted for this “scheme” – 1,000,000 IB Claimants, 300,000 lone parents and 600,000 mentally ill citizens.

    Do the David Freud “math”.

    If this sort of taxpayer money is available, why is it not being spent on finding proper medical cures for very real and NOT imagined diseases?

    ME/CFS – Doctors disbelief kills young woman

    Whilst at the very same time, cancer patients are denied life saving drugs and now the call is for an American styled “co-pay” system to help “resolve” the matter.

    Next on the “hit-list” will probably be the elderly.

    Gordon Brown has indicated up to 1,000,000 older citizens will be “persuaded” to remain in full time employment.

    The suggestion has been made that private companies could be compensated on a per head basis by not having to pay pensions until much later in life…

    Where is all the NI, Tax and Pension contributions going?

    Will the “bio-psycho-social” model be used by the trained “assessors” to establish if an elderly citizen is still fit to work at something? Perhaps this new “scheme” could be termed “Pathways to Heaven through Work?”

    The very troubled insincere Bible bashing hypocrites hailing from Tennessee should be able to come up with some wonderful marketing campaigns for this one.

    What a mess…

    We need to get rid of all the corruption and the turncoats who have perhaps been brainwashed, bullied or bribed? Shame on ALL of them.

    We need to come to our senses and understand the “worship of money” disguised as “righteousness”, is a very dangerous and real threat to our freedom.

    These types have successfully bankrupted America and now appear intent at destroying a worldwide admired NHS service and access to fundamental last resort, financial support.

    Sadly, the EU appears to have also been tarnished.

    Now ANOTHER war with Iran is being pushed very hard by some and by the looks of it, fully supported by others in Westminster.

    This is ALL truly insane stuff.

    What sort of elaborate lies are being told at the highest level of society to persuade otherwise intelligent and decent people to go along with all this nonsense?

    Scotland – I think – It’s Time…

    PS – Was there ever a problem in the first place to warrant such radical “reforms?” It certainly doesn’t look like it.

    The real figures of individuals committing fraud against the state or indeed an insurer are a tiny % of all claims but we always hear about them. The vast majority of people are genuine but their voices are NEVER heard.

    Very few can afford to go to court to attempt to seek justice. Many die awaiting their day in court to be awarded exactly what should have been legally paid to them all along, minus the extortionate legal fees.

    Pray you or a loved one never gets sick and be very careful to fully investigate who you are actually trusting in.