SBR 100!: Flirting with the Tories and fluttering the flag (again!)

Yes, believe it or not this is the 100th roundup ever. At least, that is according to how the posts have been categorised, which could be a bit hit and miss in fairness. That is the main roundup, not counting specials or non-political roundups. The maths whizzes among you will have worked out that this means that Scottish Roundup is two years old in a month’s time.

I won’t get too self-indulgent about it though. I have decided to celebrate by posting this roundup late. Sorry about that. I decided I would do it this week when it looked like I was going to be substantially less busy than I turned out to be. Plus, the ‘silly season’ has not provided any shortage of good stories, so this is quite a long roundup!

By the way, if you missed the non-political roundup, it was published here on Wednesday. Now on to this week’s roundup!

Alex Salmond made a rare slip-up this week when he appeared to express support for Margaret Thatcher’s economic policies. He was so embarrassed that he ended up phoning Morning Extra on Radio Scotland, as Brian Taylor outlined.

Ideas of Civilisation looks at the pitfalls of praising Thatcher. It always seems as though politicians of any party will be just too happy to associate themselves with Thatcher, only to run a distance from her the next week (or morning as was the case with Salmond this week).

James at Two Doctors disputed that Thatcher’s economic and social policies were all that different. But he found a lot to agree with in the rest of Alex Salmond’s interview.

Labour, of course, took full use of the opportunity to have a pop at the Tartan Tories. But many bloggers pointed out a certain flaw in Labour’s reasoning. For one thing, it was just this week that Iain Gray was trying to hook up with the Tories, which Mr H wrote about. Richard Thomson thought it was a good idea for Iain Gray to seek a cross-party approach. That was until the Conservatives thumbed their nose at Labour, as Jeff noted.

Will P pointed out also that if Labour found Thatcherite economics so abhorrent, they should have spent the past 11 years trying to reverse Thatcher’s policies. As did Alasdair, who also pointed out that it was Gordon Brown who invited Margaret Thatcher round to Number 10 for tea. As did Scottish Tory Boy.

Kezia Dugdale retorts, however, that Thatcher’s tea trip was just a matter of courtesy. She also notes that the person chosen by Alex Salmond to be Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, George Mathewson, happens to be fan of Thatcher.

In other Labour-irony-failure news, Caron notes Labour’s tactic of attacking Fife Council budget cuts as they prepare for the Glenrothes by-election. But Labour are strangely quiet about their own period in charge of Fife Council.

Meanwhile, Holyrood Watcher wonders why Labour weren’t better prepared when it came to having their next candidate for the constituency lined up. Will Patterson also wondered when Labour will find a candidate. Malc took a look at the prospects in Glenrothes.

Incidentally, Jeff reckons he knows the date of the Glenrothes by-election — 30 October.

Sticking to Labour’s woes briefly, Mr Eugenides has come across an intriguing theory as to why Gordon Brown has been a failure as a Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Political Dissuasion lets of some steam about Labour while responding to Tom Harris.

This week there was a terrible air tragedy in Madrid. North Britain asks if the plane that was hit by the catastrophic failure should have been in action in the first place.

There have been moves in Britain’s airports this week as well, but Richard Havers thinks the BBC’s coverage of the story leaves a lot to be desired.

Greener Leith is not very impressed with Alex Salmond’s decision to “rubber stamp” Forth Ports’s planned developments at Leith Docks.

In other environmental comment, in the week when an old message in a bottle was discovered by beach cleaners in St Andrews, Alasdair points out that the real story is all the rubbish that ends up on beaches, not any messages inside them.

Protests of a different kind in China. While the Free Tibet movement has been getting plenty of coverage with the Olympics in China, North Britain notes some of China’s forgotten protesters.

While we’re on the Olympics, Alex Massie looks at government funding for sport and the arts — and concludes that it’s worth it.

Alex Massie has also been prompted by the Olympics to consider the debates around independence. Is it right to focus so narrowly on the economy? Scottish Unionist looks at various politicians’ reactions to Team GB’s success in the Olympics.

Meanwhile, Robert Sharp wonders where India are in the Olympics? Why doesn’t this huge country win more medals?

Richard Thomson is sceptical as to whether or not an athlete’s nationality really matters. In a similar vein, Jeff has a look at certain words and what exactly they mean. What does it mean to be “proud” of an Olympic athlete?

There was trouble for the Scottish Government this week as it appeared to breach the Scotland Act 1998 when it engaged in talks with the Norwegian government about a subsea cable. Scottish Unionist collected some of the defensive (and offensive) Cybernat reactions.

North Britain wonders why Westminster is worried about this sort of thing all of a sudden. But Adopted Domain is suspicious about the timing of this revelation.

We can’t seem to get rid of the flags issue. This week saw yet another flag-based controversy as a Scottish Government tourism leaflet was Photoshopped to replace a Union Flag with the Saltire. Tom Harris called it “dishonest and Stalinist”.

Meanwhile, Scottish Unionist looks at flags and what they mean. Jack Deighton had some other thoughts on flags.

Stephen Glenn stepped over to Open Democracy for a look at the Scottish Lib Dem leadership campaign.

In the wake of Gary Glitter’s return to the UK, Big Rab asks what should be done about sex offenders given the crime’s large re-offending rate.

ASWAS compares the tax policies of John McCain and Barack Obama. He knows which one he prefers.

Meanwhile, there are also tax problems in Scotland, as Mr Smith noticed. Apparently the tax man is struggling to stay prompt because he hasn’t opened letters quickly enough. Would the authorities accept that as an excuse from the taxpayer?

Julie McAnulty looks at ageism.

Shuggy has been thinking back to Michael Gove’s comments about Nuts And / Or Zoo Magazine. He notes that this sort of thing only seems to become dangerous when the proles get their hands on it.

Malc in the Burgh was entertained by Boris Johnson’s appearance on ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’.

Richard Havers wonders where VisitScotland’s priorities are.

Mark Gallagher has some thoughts on Denis MacShane’s ideas on Georgia and Russia. (Is it wrong that whenever I see ‘MacShane’ I first think of Lovejoy?)

And an interesting move in terms of government reaching its people — Stirling Council is now using Twitter. But look out for pitfalls in the world of web 2.0 and the government. Cabalamat noted that the new Number 10 website apparently falls foul of copyright law.

Finally, congratulations to ‘Bellgrove Belle’ Alison Thewliss, who got married a couple of weeks ago as Indygal reported.

That’s all for this week. Next week’s roundup will be edited by Ewan Watt. Get your nominations in by using the form on the right or by emailing Thanks!

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