Focus on Fife

Hi folks! Once again we’ve proven that there is no such thing as a silly season. August is in full swing and this week there’s been plenty for bloggers to get their teeth into.

We start in Fife, where the death of John MacDougall MP from a long illness could have massive implications for UK politics. Anseo begins, by distilling the reactions to MacDougall’s passing. But already, attention is turning to the now-forthcoming Glenrothes By-Election, and already, mud is being thrown. Scottish Unionist accuses the SNP of preparing for this poll before the late MP had even died, a claim attacked by ASWaS. And Scottish Tory Boy takes a look at some of the potential Labour candidates.

Meanwhile, View from North Britain raises some procedural points that are worth bearing in mind, there’s a post over at Political Betting on the timing of the poll, Jack Deighton considers a few tidbits of political history and Stephen Glenn looks at the Westminster picture in the Kingdom. And Adopted Domain considers some of the policy issues that may come into play.

Elsewhere, the Labour Leadership contest is in full swing, and on the whole, the blogosphere doesn’t seem to be overly impressed. Holyrood Watcher is dismayed that the candidates are all of a mind to junk the Council Tax without actually appearing to know what they’d put in its place. Calum Cashley is exasperated at Andy Kerr’s suggestion that Labour is the “natural party” for Scotland. Cyber Nat is amused that few people seem to know who the candidates are, while at Ideas of Civilisation, there’s a look at the bickering between Labour MPs and MSPs over who should call the shots. What would Voltaire have said about Scotland, if he’d been around to see that?

On the procedural aspects of the contest, Scottish Tory Boy doesn’t like the Electoral College system, while Kez produces a handy explanation of the realities behind the supportive nomination system.

And of course, there’s also the Deputy Leadership contest between Bill Butler and Johann Lamont – Scottish Tory Boy takes a look.

Meanwhile, the LibDems are filling their vacancy too: Calum Cashley takes a look at speculation that the next Leader might just be keeping the seat warm for a certain Mr. C. Kennedy, while Ross Finnie supporter Caron reviews the Leadership Hustings that took place in Dunfermline.

Still, one Leadership election has concluded: with John Mason heading to Westminster, there was contest to replace him as Leader of the SNP on Glasgow City Council, and David McDonald reports on the outcome: a clear win for James Dornan. David goes on to trail the upcoming Baillieston By-Election.

Elsewhere, Jeff thinks that Alex Salmond might want to consider staying on as MP for Banff & Buchan beyond 2010.

And an opinion poll by YouGov appears to put the SNP in a strong position: Anthony Wells and ASWaS take a look, while Jeff has spotted that on a performance like the one forecast, all three of the Labour Leadership contenders could find themselves out of Holyrood in 2011.

And the result prompts Jeff to ask if the SNP ought to seek some sort of arrangement with the Greens for the Regional Vote, and idea that Two Doctors promotes. This discussion gets an analysis going atIdeas of Civilisation about the rise and fall of smaller parties since 1999.

Meanwhile, much of the focus has been on the Caucasus, with Georgia moving into South Ossetia to put down an uprising, and Russia moving into Georgia in reply. Niall is cynical about the conflict, in a post broadly echoed by Robert Sharp who suggests that it’s not so easy to pick out who’s “right” and “wrong” in the conflict. In another post, he looks at the patchwork of nationalities in the area, while Malc in the Burgh compares the situation in South Ossetia with the recent history of Kosovo, and notes the double standards at work. Ewan Watt is just relieved that Georgia wasn’t admitted into NATO.

Across the Atlantic now, and with the US Election just two and a half months away, Ewan takes a look at who the Vice-Presidential candidates could be, while Alex Massie takes a look at Obama’s latest attack ad on John McCain.

Oh, and there’s also the small matter of the Beijing Olympics. Gordon McLean is enthralled, Mr. Eugenides is appalled that a display in the Opening Ceremony designed to celebrate China’s ethnic diversity featured people from only one of many ethnicities in the country, while Michael Greenwell is baffled that the BBC should remember Deng Xiaoping more for presiding over a resurgence of table tennis in China, than for presiding over the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Back closer to home, there’s stunned reaction at Ideas of Civilisation and Better Oot Than In to the Policy Exchange’s plan to treat the North of England as some form of post-apocalyptic wasteland and allow anyone north of Birmingham with a bit of cash to flee to the South. They must have carried out their research in Chorley. However, Boxthejack reckons that there are some good points in the report.

Meanwhile, the NHS gets a look-in: IoC looks at the story of a dead patient being left in a hospital bed all day, while Julie McAnulty wonders if Vale of Leven Hospital is being left to wither on the vine.

Richard Havers calls into question Gordon Brown’s success as an author, while Shuggy is stunned that Brown’s latest book is being attacked by the SNP for identity politics.

Bishop Hill’s post on studies into climate change is worth a read, but not for the faint of heart or the short of time.

Alasdair is glad that he doesn’t get his news from CBBC Newsround. So are we, I suppose.

Stephen Glenn takes Tom Harris MP to task for his attack on PR.

Richard Havers takes a look at how wind turbines aren’t necessarily great news for the Scottish economy.

Alasdair looks at the decreasing relevance of Westminster.

Two Doctors launches an attack on the CyberNats.

Cabalamat is in favour of eugenics.

Anastasia Beaumont-Bott has a thoughtful post about how rape is dealt with in the justice system, following the overturning of a decision to cut a rape victim’s compensation on the grounds that she was drunk.

From Clairwil we have a tale that could go in an ITV documentary called “When Junkets Go Wrong”!

And finally, Duncan discusses being a contrarian, and concludes that it’s dangerous for everyone to agree. He’s right, you know.

That’s your lot for this week. Suggestions can, as always, be e-mailed to us, or you can fill out the snazzydoodah on the right. Duncan’s here on Wednesday with the first in our new series of non-political Roundups, and he’s back on Sunday with our 100th Roundup Special. But from me, it’s bye-de-bye!

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