Mandelson, the VP debate and lots of ideas from the SNP

Hello, and welcome to this week’s roundup!

Probably the most surprising story of the week was Gordon Brown’s decision to give Peter Mandelson a job in the cabinet. Bill Cameron sees it as a sign of desperation from Gordon Brown. Holyrood Watcher wouldn’t be surprised if he had to resign again.

Others see the appointment of Mr Mandelson in a more positive light though. Ewan Aitken notes that it shows that Gordon Brown can be bold and decisive — “at last”!

The other big political story of the week was the vice presidential debate in the USA. Bernard Salmon thought it wasn’t even close. Alex Massie liveblogged the debate.

Meanwhile, Malc in the Burgh analyses the implications of John McCain pulling out of the campaign in Michigan.

The biggest story in Scottish politics was the SNP’s decision to entitle all school pupils from primary 1 through to primary three to free school meals. Indygal celebrates this “anti poverty, anti obesity and pro health” policy.

But Labour supporters, perhaps predictably, were quick to point out the drawbacks. Cllr Andrew Burns wondered where the funds would come from. Meanwhile, both Ewan Aitken and Kezia Dugdale used that Friedmanite mantra, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”. Kind of funny coming from a party that’s supposed to be of the left, but there you go.

Ideas of Civilisation takes a more in-depth look at the issues surrounding the SNP’s plan.

The SNP weren’t quite so successful, though, in getting their legislation on alcohol passed. Shuggy called the plan stupid and illiberal and was pleased that the Scottish Parliament rejected the scheme. Iain Rubie Dales said that a dialogue is needed, not knee-jerk legislation.

All the while, Niall makes an interesting point:

…if drinking is so widespread ‘society’ surely doesn’t have a problem with it because ‘society’ is the one doing the drinking – which returns us to a paternalistic government telling us how they think we should be living.

Adopted Domain made the link between the SNP wanting to criminalise teenage drinkers and wanting to criminalise teenage mothers.

Stephen Glenn also criticises the SNP’s plan to criminalise girls who have under-age sex, pointing out that the plans could prevent girls from seeking medical advice. Caron adds more.

Political Dissuasion wonders why all the earnest Labour voices have gone quiet over the arrest of Labour councillor John Holden.

Meanwhile, Scottish Tory Boy thinks that Labour MSP David Whitton should move on from certain events from the past.

Mr Smith has noticed that some of the Scottish Government’s advisers have been involved in the practice of short-selling which Alex Salmond slammed a few weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Holyrood Watcher has taken a look at a problem with the HBOS–Lloyds TSB deal.

Elsewhere, Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting got an inkling that Alex Salmond had been misquoted over the claim that an independent Scotland would have ploughed £100bn into saving HBOS.

As the credit crunch continues to make its presence felt, Cllr Angus Nicolson reminds us of the issue of ‘moral hazard’, a major argument against the bailout. Stephen Glenn added more thoughts on the bailout plan, as did Neil Craig. Boxthejack reckons it may be time for a freer market.

Meanwhile, Richard Thomson has noticed a few flaws in a piece written by Jeremy Purvis.

Bishop Hill finds himself in the unusual position of agreeing with George Monbiot on the issue of corporate welfare.

Secret Scotland looks at the story of Sebastian Przygodzki who has been fined £100 for taking a photograph of a drunk woman in a public street. What gets me about the story is the fact that the Sheriff seemingly handed out the fine not because Mr Przygodzki broke the law, but because he wanted to teach a lesson in chivalry. Cabalamat has more on this.

There was a brouhaha this week when the tram works moved to the centre of Edinburgh. Mr H takes a look. But Political Dissuasion thinks that those calling for resignations after day one are being too hasty.

James at Two Doctors struggles to understand why some on the left continue to have sympathy for Iain Blair. Bernard Salmon was just surprised that it took simple party politics, rather than all of the scandals of the past few years, to dethrone Blair. Bill Cameron congratulates Boris Johnson for getting rid of Blair. But Political Dissuasion sees Blair as a victim of a harsh media campaign.

Shuggy warns the left against underestimating David Cameron.

Cllr Fraser Macpherson cast his eye over ITV’s plans to cut regional news output which would lead to residents of the Scottish Borders receiving their news from Gateshead rather than Carlisle.

Mike Smith is worried that ITV is going down the same path as US television. Meanwhile, I wondered if local television might not have a future at all.

Here is an interesting film by Peter Gerard. Amid the excitement of Glasgow hosting the 2014 Commonwealth Games, this film looks at some of the concerns local residents have about the Games.

Common Wealth? – East End hopes & fears for the 2014 Games from Peter Gerard on Vimeo.

Julie Hepburn felt a shiver down her spine when she read that David Mundell believes that a Conservative government would have the right to implement their policies regardless of how many Scottish MPs they have. I added my thoughts here.

Will Patterson rips to shreds the idea, espoused by Margot James, that gay people “have a duty to vote Conservative.”

Finally Woken has a fascinating post questioning the religion she has followed for 30 years.

North Britain wonders why, as The Scotsman claimed this week, the US would be “shocked” at the prospect of Scottish independence.

Matt Wardman takes note of a worrying trend which could potentially mean climate change leading to “the end of haggis”.

Inquisitor does his stint on “Speak You’re Branes” duty by reading the moronic comments on the BBC’s 606 message board about the offensive chants aimed at Sol Campbell.

Finally, Tom Harris recalls an embarrassing moment.

That’s it for this week. Next week’s guest editor is a mystery guest… mostly because I haven’t got round to finding one yet. Get your nominations in as always by using the form on the right or by emailing Thanks!