Starkey Raving Bonkers

A belated hi, folks! Despite the headline, it goes without saying (which is, on reflection, why I didn’t say it in the headline) that the main story this week was the Budget. Still, whatever reservations we may have about the content, at least this one passes easily enough…

Anyway. Mr. Eugenides proves once again that he should be knighted for services to bloggery following his efforts at live-blogging Alistair Darling’s speech. Angus Nicolson provides balanced reflections afterwards.

Tom Harris, unsurprisingly, is favourable, while Jeff asks if it may have fallen between two stools, Bucket of Tongues suggests that it won’t tackle any of the root problems we currently face, and Political Dissuasion notes how it won’t be of all that much use to jobseekers… and he should know!

The new 50% tax rate for high earners raises a few eyebrows: Ewan Watt notes the return to class warfare, while you get the feeling that Stuart wouldn’t object too much to having to suffer from the plight that is earning enough money to qualify for it. Shuggy, meanwhile, wonders if those supporting the move have realised that higher taxes don’t necessarily mean better public services.

Turning to the Scottish end of matters, and the vexed question of those much-needed efficiency savings/drastic slashing of the Scottish Budget (delete as appropriate): Yousuf argues that there’s plenty in the Budget that will benefit Scotland to countreract the £500million reduction; Alex Massie suggests that the SNP should be trying to cut Scottish public spending anyway, to which Richard responds by saying that the Scottish Government has it’s own efficiency programme. Chris, meanwhile, doesn’t like being lectured about fiscal responsibility by the party that has presided over the downturn.

Jeff hails the car wreckage scheme, but Stephen isn’t so sure.

Finally, Kez notes a difference in how the Budget is being reported on the BBC’s UK-wide pages, and in the Scotland section.

Turning to other matters, the Home Office ruling on the Gurkhas’ right to live in the UK has rawn criticism from Calum, Caron and Subrosa.

Of course, it was inevitable that I’d mention the David Starkey furore, when Britain’s most eminent historian/self-important, ranting bigot (again, delete as appropriate) dismissed the Scots and Welsh as ‘pathetic’ on Question Time. Jim argues that Starkey is becoming a caricature of himself, while Clairwil feels that some of the criticism that’s come his way is a little hollow.

So given the accusations of racism that are flying around, would this be a good time to mention the latest Scottish opinion poll? Anthony Wells has the figures, whiel Jeff reflects on current attitudes to independence.

Caron, meanwhile, is celebrating good results for the LibDems in two recent Council By-Elections, but Fitaloon isn’t impressed that in Aberdeenshire, the LibDems won despite the Tory candidate winning more first preference votes.

Stephen and Subrosa aren’t overly impressed at Gordon Brown’s new plans to reform MPs’ expenses.

Staying with Westminster, Malc has picked up on how Labour MPs still persist in referring to the Scottish Executive.

Whatever you call it, Andrew Burns notes how little legislation it’s put forward compared to its Labour/LibDem predecessor.

And however effective you view the Government/Executive (delete as… oh, you know the drill now), Lallands Peat Worrier looks at the main Opposition and finds it wanting.

Jess The Dog tells his own story about Government data loss.

Calum notes that the new Chair of Scottish Labour is strongly anti-nuclear, and wonders how that squares with the pro-nuclear statements comign out of the rest of the Labour Party.

And finally, Richard Havers asks if there’s any point in Gaelic roadsigns.

Anyway, that’s your lot for another week. Lallands Peat Worrier is in the hotseat next week, and you can, as always, mail in your suggestions or fill out the showaddywaddydooberry on the right. Bye-de-bye!

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