Hi folks! This week has been something of a morass of morality, which makes a pleasant change from the usual dreary economic headlines. Perhaps we’re just recessioned out.
Anyway, we start with Tom Harris MP, who caused a stooshie this week when he posted his reflections on teenage pregnancies and a society that tolerates them. If you haven’t read it yet, have a look at what the fuss is about.
Of course, Tom’s decision to single out adolescent mothers (and how ironic that we should be rounding this up on International Women’s Day) didn’t go down too well: BellgroveBelle rips into him for passing judgement on constituents who will undoubtedly need to turn for him for help. Caron and Callum remind him that the girl isn’t the only person involved in the process, while James suggests that he should be criticising his own government for the situation. Even Terry Kelly sticks the boot in, wondering how it is that he and Tom Harris can be in the same party.
On a similar note, Jess the Dog reflects on the death of 23-month-old Brandon Muir at the hands of his mother’s partner.
Elsewhere in this week of moral condundra (I do hope that’s the plural â€“ it sounds so much better than ‘conundrums’), comes the Scottish Government’s war on binge drinking. It meets a muted response in the blogosphere: Bucket of Tongues goes through it, and is sceptical; Holyrood Watcher flags up a potential legal obstacle to the proposals for a minimum price; Shuggy isn’t impressed and Bernard isn’t convinced that making booze more expensive will make it less attractive. Meanwhile, Big Rab attempts to look forward to the next initiative. However, the proposals do have some supporters, most notably Tartan Hero, who accuses the Opposition parties of not having any solutions to offer.
Meanwhile, there’s been an excrement/fan interface scenario for the Scottish LibDems, the suspension of Councillors who left the official LibDem group on Aberdeenshire Council to form their own, and the resignation from the party of one of them, Debra Storr. Most of the Liberal Democrat blogosphere is sympathetic to her: Iain Dale is choosing his words carefully, Caron is staggered at the treatment being dished out to a long-standing friend of hers and the party, events give Stephen something to think about and Callum suggests that other Councillors have done the same without redress. Indeed, events have now drawn attention outside Scotland, and Liberal Neil is troubled by developments. Bernard provides a timeline of events.
In other news, Peter Mandelson ended up covered in slime (I’m resisting the temptation to make the obvious jokes here) this week, after a run-in with a custard-wielding member of Plane Stupid. James hails the protest, while Bucket of Tongues disagrees with the group’s aims, but supports their protest. Ewan Watt thinks along similar lines, though acknowledges that things could have been slightly less amusing. Tom Harris, however, isn’t impressed, and finds comparisons between the protester and the Suffragettes to be somewhat wide of the mark. Still, at least she wasn’t pregnant.
In the wonderful world of political intrigue, the report into the Glenrothes By-Election was completed and, following SNP concerns at the absence of a marked register, Kezia believes that the party scored an own goal. Jeff thinks it was a no-score draw. And following Kez’s call for a Government minister to take responsibility for the loss details, and given that it’s Jim Murphy who’s in charge of elections in Scotland, Leaves on the Line asks whether she really meant to call for the Secretary of State’s head. Duncan considers some of the report’s points.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Roundup without a reference to the constitutional question, and this week is no exception. Kez notes the poor election results for nationalist parties in regional elections in the Basque Country and Galicia, and suggests that nationalism is on the wane in Europe. Closer to home, however, Malc and Kevin both attack the Unionist parties for supporting an amendment to a Scottish Parliament motion which opposes a referendum on independence, while Bernard notes that the referendum issue isn’t one that’s going to go away any time soon â€“ and even suggests circumstances where it might be acceptable â€“ a viable alternative for further devolutionary powers. Of course, the Calman Commission is in the best position to deliver that, and Justified Spinner reckons that with two of the parties in it supporting extra financial powers, it could offer Scotland de facto autonomy.
Meanwhile, in terms of how the constitutional debate is conducted, Malc is exasperated at the negative tone from both sides and feels that we could all learn a thing or two from Barack Obama’s view of partisanship.
Interestingly, Stuart draws comparisons with the Obama administration and the SNP Government, and argues that the former may draw lessons from the performance of the latter.
And with Gordon Brown popping across the Pond to see the new President, Jeff produces a handy (and hilarious) guide to the PM for American readers.
But while Brown was away, he left PMQs in the hands of Harriet Harman, who, as Stephen reports, managed to mislead Parliament by asserting that Sir Fred Goodwin got his Knighthood for charity work. Instead he got it for services to banking: proof positive that we should never make monuments to the living, as they can still disgrace the stone.
And while Harman was misleading the Commons, a report by two former Presiding Officers concluded that Alex Salmond did not mislead the Scottish Parliament when he described the Scottish Inter Faith Council’s funding situation, as Justified Spinner discusses.
Meanwhile, this weekend saw Scottish Labour’s Conference in Dundee, and Yousuf was heading to Caird Hall in good spirits. Jeff, however, took a look at the coverage of the Conference, and wasn’t too impressed with what he saw. Holyrood Patter, meanwhile, sees a pattern: at SNP Conferences, Nicola Sturgeon speaks on a Saturday and Alex Salmond speaks on a Sunday, while at the LibDems’ Spring Conference at Harrogate this weekend, Vince Cable was speaking yesterday and Nick Clegg today. As HP notes, at Labour’s shindig, Iain Gray spoke yesterday while Jim Murphy spoke today.
Anyway. As Opposition parties spent Thursday at Holyrood attacking the SNP’s record, Calum drew comparisons between SNP actions in Edinburgh and Labour actions in London. And AMS suggested that Iain Gray’s chagrin at broken SNP promises may be a little rich.
Bishop Hill notes that the NSPCC are somewhat antsy about criticism on Facebook.
On a similar theme, someone is antsy about criticism from Angus Nicolson, and is trying to hack his blog.
And David Blackwood has a tip for Lewis Moonie, who is trying to avoid journalists: give them something, anything, like a press release, and then they’ll go away with what they wanted. Personally, I always thought that if you gave them a press release they’d expect one every time.
Shuggy contributes to discussions of civil liberties by suggesting that human beings aren’t exactly saintly, but that while we may need our wings clipped occasionally, members of the Government are by no means above us.
Subrosa notes Glasgow Council’s efforts to set its own Minimum Wage, and wonders if this is Councillor Steven Purcell’s first move in an attempt to gain the Leadership of Scottish Labour.
Julie Hepburn tells the story of when the European Elections came to Cumbernauld.
Neil Craig takes a look at predictions made for the year 2000 made a century earlier.
And finally, Mr. Eugenides compares Murdo Fraser’s suggeston that Barack Obama should be invited to the UK with the reaction to an idea to invite the Pope, which was criticised by a certain Mr. M. Fraser.
That’s a wrap for another week: Cabalamat is in the hotseat next Sunday, and you can, as always, send us your sugestions by dropping us a cod or filling out the twiddlydoodah on the right. Bye-de-bye!