The truth, the whole truth…

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: I’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 wasn’t to be. Aside from dearly departed blogs like ASwaS and Kezia Dugdale’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.

But three promising new blogs registered on my radar this week: A Leaky Chanter, Nationalist Mythbusting and Wardog. Oh, and the welcome return after a period of silence of Jim Millar.

Speaking of Kezia, scoop of the week might have gone to Jeff at SNP Tactical Voting, who found a Google cache of a withdrawn Scotsman Steamie post suggesting that she might take on SNP candidate George Kerevan (who is also the Scotsman’s Associate Editor) to contest Edinburgh East. I say “might have”, because despite the elements of a decent conspiracy theory being present it soon became clear that there wasn’t a grain of truth in the story!

Stage one of the Scottish Government’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 “a very bad day” for the First Minister. Jamie Cooke thinks the inquiry makes Mr Salmond look “stupid rather than dishonest”. Stuart Winton sees parallels with Wendygate, while Robbie Dinwoodie notes that it’s “hardly up there with Profumo or Watergate”. Caron sees the inquiry both as a “storm in a teacup” and “an important storm to have”, while Malc criticises the style of First Minister’s Questions. Jeff thinks the whole issue is “getting a little bit silly already”, 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 Herald’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 “growing pressure on municipal budgets and the self-evident duplication and bureaucracy” and thus sees irony in the Scottish Executive’s rejection of the proposal as a “costly, bureaucratic exercise”.

Calum Cashley highlights Greenpeace’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.

The Greens’ free insulation proposal gets a somewhat predictable thumbs-up from James at Two Doctors. Duncan at Doctor Vee is uncharacteristically effusive in his praise of the scheme.

Yousuf Hamid doesn’t think the SNP will be able to handle Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy’s “hug them close” strategy. But Richard Thomson takes the view that much of what Mr Murphy is doing is actually vacuous posturing.

Jeff lands interviews with the candidates for Rector of Edinburgh University – first George Foulkes and then Ian McKee.

Nationalist Mythbusting has a revealing post on the numbering system for monarchs’ titles, explaining “the principle of using whichever numeral in the English or Scottish lines of Kings and Queens happens to be the higher”.

Finally, here’s an interesting post at Poliblog Perspective which provides links to online archives of candidates’ 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 Sunday’s roundup. As always, you can nominate posts using the form on the right or by emailing Bye for now!

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