Hello and welcome to my maiden roundup! Many thanks to Duncan for taking what some might consider to be a risk in allowing me to join the team. But rest assured: Iâ€™ll be as objective as humanly possible!
There are currently 108 Scottish political blogs listed at Total Politics, and so I had imagined that in compiling this roundup I would be spoiled for choice. In the event, it wasnâ€™t to be. Aside from dearly departed blogs like ASwaS and Kezia Dugdaleâ€™s Soapbox, others such as Scottish Tory Boy, Cyber Nat and Political Dissuasion appear to be on hiatus, while yet others, including Tartan Hero and Jamie Hepburn, are now updated infrequently.
Speaking of Kezia, scoop of the week might have gone to Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting, who found a Google cache of a withdrawn Scotsman Steamie post suggesting that she might take on SNP candidate George Kerevan (who is also the Scotsmanâ€™s Associate Editor) to contest Edinburgh East. I say â€œmight haveâ€, because despite the elements of a decent conspiracy theory being present it soon became clear that there wasnâ€™t a grain of truth in the story!
Stage one of the Scottish Governmentâ€™s budget turned out to be nowhere as close as first thought, passing by 107 votes to 16 with just one abstention. However, who knows what might now follow? Will tells us why a failed budget process should mean a new Holyrood election, while James suggests otherwise. Andrew Reeves explains why the LibDems voted against the budget.
Unpredictably, the biggest story of the week was probably the inquiry ordered by Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson into accusations that Scottish ministers, in particular the First Minister, have misled Parliament.
Inevitably, opinions on such an issue vary widely. Brian Taylor examines the background but draws few conclusions. A Leaky Chanter calls it â€œa very bad dayâ€ for the First Minister. Jamie Cooke thinks the inquiry makes Mr Salmond look â€œstupid rather than dishonestâ€. Stuart Winton sees parallels with Wendygate, while Robbie Dinwoodie notes that itâ€™s â€œhardly up there with Profumo or Watergateâ€. Caron sees the inquiry both as a â€œstorm in a teacupâ€ and â€œan important storm to haveâ€, while Malc criticises the style of First Ministerâ€™s Questions. Jeff thinks the whole issue is â€œgetting a little bit silly alreadyâ€, and if further evidence of that were needed, Richard Thomson notes that Iain Gray may have told Parliament the wrong number of apprenticeships in England. He wonders aloud if someone should inform the Presiding Officer.
On a less overtly partisan note, Jamie Cooke approves of the Heraldâ€™s campaign to have the number of councils in Scotland reduced from 32 to as few as ten, while Ideas of Civilisation is in two minds. Stuart Winton sees the proposal as motivated by the â€œgrowing pressure on municipal budgets and the self-evident duplication and bureaucracyâ€ and thus sees irony in the Scottish Executiveâ€™s rejection of the proposal as a â€œcostly, bureaucratic exerciseâ€.
Calum Cashley highlights Greenpeaceâ€™s inventive plan to stall the expansion of Heathrow Airport. Caron and Stephen evidently approve and have become beneficial owners in the plot of land on which it is hoped the third runway will be built.
Yousuf Hamid doesnâ€™t think the SNP will be able to handle Scottish Secretary Jim Murphyâ€™s â€œhug them closeâ€ strategy. But Richard Thomson takes the view that much of what Mr Murphy is doing is actually vacuous posturing.
Nationalist Mythbusting has a revealing post on the numbering system for monarchsâ€™ titles, explaining â€œthe principle of using whichever numeral in the English or Scottish lines of Kings and Queens happens to be the higherâ€.
Finally, hereâ€™s an interesting post at Poliblog Perspective which provides links to online archives of candidatesâ€™ election materials, including those for the Scottish parliamentary elections of 1999 and 2003.
So there we have it: the week that was. Will Patterson will be compiling next Sundayâ€™s roundup. As always, you can nominate posts using the form on the right or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Bye for now!