Hostile hams, kurkis polished up to a wicked political sheen, expenses paper cuts which run to the bone. Yelping, squalling, wheezing. Wide eyed denial. Implausible support.All in all, a fairly typical week in political life, where never one day passes, but some poor heart does break. Typically to general hilarity.
From the Scottish blogging perspective, however, the learned texts rustled up this week are remarkable for theirs sprightliness and individuality. Gentle supplication and relenting submission to the pounding agenda of the news media is singularly not in evidence. Perhaps it is just me, but self-important regurgitation of half-digested media epithets isnâ€™t the glee of a blog. Cheerfully, we happy Scottish blogging few are a wild roving lot and the bill of fare this week offers the curious bloggee a decidedly spicy mÃ©lange.
Perhaps naturally, however, comment could not be avoided on the perilous porcine affliction, which has stolen into the country. Personally, I canâ€™t help but feel a spasm of pity for the wretched holidaying couple, who have the happy cheer of becoming poster persons for this â€œswine fluâ€, but also have been condemned forever to embarrassment when any well-meaning, romantic soul asks them about their honeymoon. Ho hum. Leery eyes fixed on the broader social significance of the prevailing pig-provoked pandemic, Ideas of Civilisation pens a Voltairean analysis of the eschatological character of media coverage of the outbreak. With a similar, broad-minded view, Neil Craig of A Place to Stand considers the outbreak in the historical round, with a reflective, global eye. Meanwhile, in a crisp, splendidly tart post, Jeff of SNP Tactical Voting reminds us of the silent fate consuming millions haunted by diseases which prompt only yawning silence from the media. Finally, to slap a kilt on the tale â€“ this dainty, ankle-revealing garment being the Scottish equivalent of Obamaâ€™s lipstick for the pigÂ â€“ Brian Taylor gives wee Nicola Sturgeon a pat on the back for striking the rights notes in her public pronouncements on the spread of the illness. Shrill and febrile panic, for the main, deftly averted.
Alternatively, the other tale animating political faces this week has been the unexpected trashing of the Labour Governmentâ€™s position on the settlement rights of Gurka soldiers. Cooncillor Fraser Macpherson of Dundee discusses his local Labour Memberâ€™s dancing and weaving on the issue. Craig Murray and Subrosa are sharply unimpressed that among the rebellious contingent of Labour MPs who dissented in the vote on the Liberal Democratâ€™s motion, not a one of them were from Scottish constituencies.
Speaking as one of the line-toeing souls, Tom Harris MPâ€™s remarks have caused a bit of a fizz. Although the aforementioned doughty tribune has recanted a drop or two of his vinegary sentiments, allegedly composed in the drear hours post-vote, Harris also questions whether the co-packaging of the Gurka â€œvictoryâ€ with the Tories was really the best which the slightly-sweatsome Nick Clegg could do. From this little parliamentary dilemma, Political Dissuasion explores more general questions of the representative functions of our Deputies, laying on the whip, and how closely the exhortations of the personal Goddess, Conscience, are heeded. Weakness, quoth he, seems the order of the day.
Further on the theme of Conservative electoral smarm, North to Leithâ€™s keen eye has espied an apparent south of the Tweed bias in the recently released footage of the Conservative scheming chamber. Political Disuassion warns the Tories that the political equivalent of revenge sex lacks the sustaining fire and honesty of true love.
To widen our smarming net, Jeff finds the Liberal Democratic attempts to woo him in Leith rather ineffective, while Richard Thompson of Scots and Independent goes the whole hog (too many pig metaphors, do we think?) and envisions a parallel Scotland altogether.
Talking of the parallel, Two Doctors smartly points up the hideous alternative universe which the Metropolitan Police Service seems to live in. Also a dashing instance of brevity being the soul of wit, yon post. Yousuf cheerfully cites Labour’s bye-election victory in the vault of warlike, quasi-Celtic stupidity – “wi’ Bruce an’ Wallace” – as bad news for the Maximum Eck and cronies. Gallant boy,Â Yousuf.
Marching down the witsome lane, Kezia dumps dreary political screechery for literary reflection. Highly civilised. En route, she might well encounter Moridura’s personal â€“ and characterful – reflection on the final departure of Scots playwright Tom McGrath, a creative and powerful force in the Scottish theatrical scene.Â
Returning to the cosy cloisters of the more political, Stuart Winton conspired to keep a cautious eye on the old Calman Commission, while I discussed Margo MacDonald MSP’s proposed bill on assisted suicide in the Scottish Parliament, with a bit of criticism and context about what the legal position on that issue is in Scotland at present. Booting her reader’s attention to the westward limits of the “Celtic Axis”, Caron‘s spirits are rightly askew about the pernicious blasphemy proposals troubling the Irish Oireachtas. As a small aside, one probably ought to get even more vexed about the Scottish position, since blasphemy remains, primae facie, a crime in Scots law already.
To end on an appropriately pigletty note, Clairwil lightens the collective load by tempting us all with the animating prospect of bilious Boy George with his bits out, enjoying a splash of company in the prison showers with a chap called â€œJack Tweedâ€, erstwhile squeezer of the dearly departed Goody (Jade). As the academic feminists have it, “the personal is political”. And who am I to argue?
Well, that is us! The bracing finale for this, my baptismal go at the round up. As per usual, send your nominations for inclusion to the thingumywhatsit, your insulting critiques to firstname.lastname@example.org, and your bribes for inclusion next week to Jeff of SNP Tactical Voting!
Discreet brown envelopes only, please…