Money money money

Hello and welcome to this week’s roundup. Politics got right into full swing again this week following the Christmas break.

But first thoughts should turn to the ongoing situation in Gaza. Caron shared the thoughts of a friend. Meanwhile, Stephen Glenn took up Iain Dale’s challenge to see events from an Israeli perspective.

The Daily Record‘s Magnus Gardham was impressed with the way the Scottish Parliament debated the issue. How far things have come along, he notes, in the six years since the debate over whether or not the Scottish Parliament should even discuss the Iraq war. David Maddox was not so impressed though, noting how one-sided such debates tend to become.

Yesterday there was a demonstration about the situation in Edinburgh. Caron wrote a full account of the day. Cat at stroppyblog added more, while Stephen Glenn provided the photographs. Stephen also updated the world on the event as it happened on Twitter (starting here). Malc in the Burgh is more sceptical over the benefits of such protests though.

In the world of Scottish politics, it’s that time of year again already: budget time. Ideas of Civilisation casts an eye over the process. James at Two Doctors also looks at how things might play out, analysing each of the parties’ positions. An interesting point in that post is about what what will happen should the Presiding Officer have to vote.

Meanwhile, David Maddox explains why the Lib Dems opted to send Mike Rumbles into the budget negotiations.

Jeff takes a closer look at the Greens’ proposal to install insulation in people’s homes for free. Jeff reckons it is a small price to pay for the support of the Greens.

The other big bit of news this week is also to do with money. How will the new crossing over the Forth be funded? Yousuf looks at all the options, but none of them particularly look like a goer. Maybe that’s just as well though, as Jeff is beginning to suspect that a second road bridge simply isn’t needed.

Meanwhile, WestWorld notes that the SNP is having a harder time over the second Forth Road Bridge that it would have had last year. But that is mostly because of the media — where is the credible political opposition?

Bernard Salmon looks at the funding squeeze that local government is set to face.

Indeed, with money being such a concern just now, Ewan Aitken thinks that the SNP Government’s £17.5 million contribution towards the purchase of a Titian isn’t needed either. It won’t create a single job, he notes.

And jobs are what is needed just now. Angus Nicolson tots up the figures in the Western Isles. Job prospects look bleak.

40 of the jobs that have gone from the Western Isles were at Woolworths. Craig mourns the passing of the store. Not as much as I do though — I lost my job because of it! I am currently writing a series of posts about Woolworths, the first of which is here.

The demise of Woolworths is obviously being felt because Experian published a report this week warning of the creation of five “ghost towns”, partly as a result of shops like Woolies closing down. New blogger John McGalt warns against excessive government intervention in such towns.

Speaking of the economy, Scottish Unionist has spotted the SNP Government taking credit for trends that began under the previous Labour / Lib Dem administration. And Andrew Burns reckons the SNP’s announcement of a “Capital City Supplement” is a similar con trick.

Alasdair thinks that the SNP’s record as it heads into 2009 is shambolic, noting how the COSLA concordat, Local Income Tax and the Scottish Futures Trust all appear to have hit the buffers. Andrew Burns similarly wonders what has happened to SFT.

Big Rab ponders the possibility of a new state bank being set up, and looks back on the Girobank.

The SNP is considering raising the age of criminal responsibility from 8 to 12. Jeff would be in favour of a rise, as long as bad parenting is punished more instead.

Alex Massie shares the story of a friend’s conversion from the Labour Party.

Holyrood Watcher reckons that the Labour Party doesn’t even understand working class past-times.

Tory Bear got the scoop of the Conservative activist who resigned from the party after attending a party dressed as Madeleine McCann.

Atheists have raised eyebrows with their bus advertising campaign. Alex Massie outlines how he thinks that many atheists are crashing bores.

Ewan Aitken suggests another message that could have brought the atheists more attention. Clairwil similarly notes that the atheists’ message is not exactly radical, and that the money ploughed into the campaign would have been better spent elsewhere.

On a more entertaining note, Tommy Sheridan’s trip to the Big Brother house has caused some mirth among bloggers. Of course, one can’t help but draw a comparison to George Galloway’s participation in Celebrity Big Brother. As a socialist, Stephen Bowman worries that Scotland’s two most high-profile socialist politicians have now both associated themselves with trashy television.

Perhaps more worrying though was the fact that Tommy Sheridan ill-advisedly sang a football song, and got himself tied up in knots in the process. Not being from the west of Scotland and having next to no interest in football, this stuff largely goes straight over my head, but Mr Eugenides outlines how Tommy Sheridan got it all wrong. He asks, “what other elements of his hard-left political views are similarly based on a grotesque misunderstanding of the everyday world he sees around him?”

For all your Tommy Sheridan-related needs as Celebrity Big Brother progresses, visit Scott at Love and Garbage.

Away from the excitement in the Big Brother house, Rhythmaning took a trip to another famous building, the Scottish Parliament, sharing photographs of and thoughts on the building.

Gus at 1820 noticed The Guardian‘s strange story “revealing” that Robert Burns was a republican. The paper is set to reveal the Pope’s Catholicism later this week.

Mr Smith questions the wisdom of the SNP’s suggestion to its MSPs that they should take their holiday somewhere in Scotland in case going abroad looks funny in the year of homecoming. Sara adds her thoughts on the Homecoming campaign. Just who is the most famous person in the world?

Bill Cameron notes an unfortunate choice of music in a Channel 4 documentary about tight people.

Tom Harris has got his hands on a leaked memo from the Conservatives.

Speaking of Tom Harris, he is the latest politician to open an account on Twitter. I’ve noticed a few more Scottish politics types getting active in Twitter lately as well, which is great to see. Check out, for instance, Arthur’s Seat, Caron Lindsay, Jo Swinson, Stephen Glenn, Alex Massie

Adopted Domain offers his political wishes for 2009.

The best way to include these next posts in the roundup is to use the exact sentence Stephen Glenn used when he suggested them: “On the twelfth day of Christmas Jeff and Fraser gave to us their 1,000th posts”. Congratulations to both bloggers!

And that’s the lot for this week’s roundup. Next week’s roundup will be brought to you by Scottish Unionist. Please keep the nominations coming in by using the form on the right or by emailing Thanks!

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