The clocks have been fierce this week. Just as one second had wreaked its political vengeance against the Westminster Government, it was replaced by another stalking beat, with a blow of its own to land. Thanks to modern telecommunications, death is re-experienced hourly in sixty cut units. Commentators scrabble for their knife sharpeners as they find their typically lackadaisical scalpel-hand aching and sore from unexpected use.
Excitable Scots bloggers prove no different, and in an anarchic spirit of incessant commentary, have generated a stonking great wedge of posts this week on the elections to the European Parliament, the hour-leaping events pirouetting outside Westminster palace and the gloomy, abiding presence of Mr J. Gordon Brown, First Lord of the Treasury and his merciless beleaguerment.
Little mercy is shown, either, to your poor host for this weekâ€™s roundup. Casting aside any lasso-wielding hope to sum up fully, Iâ€™ve instead determined to follow the approach indicated by Labour backbenchers, and wield a darting foil instead, striking for the flanks and generally leaving shifts of time and narrative to tend to themselves.
Brace, good friends, for political hyperreality.
Let us commence with a flaccid protuberance from last week, and with the news that the Maximum Eckâ€™s prose-poem about escapees from Scots Prison â€“ criticised by some Labour stylists for having one escapee too few in it – has been submitted to a panel of expert judges for their artistic analysis. Subrosa discusses the triumph of Mr Gray.
Meanwhile, from the pre-elective phase of the week, Alan Wallace, an independent candidate standing for the European Elections in Scotland with the Jury Team decided to buck the trend, advising we flabby electors on why we have to vote. Apparently, if the whispering room where Jeff makes his nest is to be believed, the voters of Glasgow didnâ€™t read Mr Wallaceâ€™s post, and stayed-in in their droves. Will voting levels really plummet to a stupefying 7%? Weâ€™ll have to wait and see. Alex Massie suffered similar pangs about electoral participation, but ultimately relented. Consult his reasoning here. Kezia, by contrast, points out that a Labour activist cannot live by bread alone. While love and charity are optional extras, hope is a must when plodding Scotland’s grey-paved streets. Finally, Malc of Old Reekie relates an amusing jape from the cosmological democracy genre.
My own school’s motto was “Veritas” – amusing in the context of its pervasive culture of bourgeois dishonesty. However, blogs are splendid when they draw the eye to the things the media neglects. Although a partisan outpouring, Subrosa’s borrowed clip indicates that even the media, with blood on their dentures, control the direction of news. Blogs can wonderously disrupt that.
Speaking of disrupting structures of conscientious oppression, Neil Craig discusses the Tianamen Square protests of 1989, and draws critical comparison to what he regards as wur ain Government’s oppressions and tyrannies.
Lest we forget, Stephen the Lib Dem Laird of Linlithgow reminds us that even in phases of repose, the Welsh and Scottish Nationalist motion for the dissolution of the Westminster Parliament, hangs threateningly, like the butterknife of Damocles.Â On the local election results themselves Councillor Macpherson does a spot of Liberal Democratic gloating and speculates about how the break-down of votes might unfold in first-order elections to Westminster next year. Completing this Lib Dem triad, Caron thinks randomly on the Brown reshuffle, and is good enough to share them with us.
In Glasgow, Yousuf daintily pulls a tartan garter up the electorateâ€™s leg, commenting on the three Scottish cooncil by-elections on Thursday in Bishopbriggs South, Coatbridge North and Glenboig and in Drumchapel. Labourâ€™s three new councillors defied national trends by donning red rosettes, and simultaneously sustained three victories, sending three defeated Sir Politick Would-Beâ€™s from the SNPâ€™s west-coast contingent back to their day jobs. In other council news, Duncan pulls on a thick pair of gloves and rummages through the freshly published expenses frae Fife Council. Irate constituents can peruse over the detail at their leisure.
Meanwhile, the ragged banshee of Westminster MPs expenses continues shriekingly to pursue recalcitrant members. This week, Jim Devine MP of Livingstonâ€™s ears must be bleeding from the echoing cries which follow him. The (allegedly) doltish Devine is up before the beak, and the sharp-toothed inquisitions of Labourâ€™s National Executive Committee “Star Chamber”. Jeff speculates on Devineâ€™s shovel work, while Clairwil has a pointed question for the footering tribune.
Craig Murray discusses an interesting, but frequently neglected aspect of education policy. What relationship ought there to be between education and business? Mind work and cash generation? Craig quotes extensively from his rectoral installation address at the grand old University of Dundee, and is sharply unimpressed with the collapse of universities policy into the penny-pushing purview of Lord Mandelson and his business-driven diary.
I suspect I’m the last man in Scotland interested in the Calman Commission. Like all lonely souls, I’ve tried to gather cronies for the warmth. Needless to say, membership remains small.
Young Yousuf also raises the question of â€œsmall partyâ€ press coverage. Personally, the way the BBC use the word â€œotherâ€ to designate parties they happen to regard as minor drives me up the wall. For an alterative view â€“ and an animated field of comments â€“ read up here. Ex-regular bloggette, now regular Scottish parliamentarian Indygal reveals what happens when SNP MSPs meet Labour MPs. While it isnâ€™t the foul-mouthed mudwresting Iâ€™ve been lead to believe, itâ€™s a touching little vignette. Meanwhile, Mr Tom Harris MP HND, Indygal’s musical interlocutor, asks a question and Political Dissuasion answers it.
For everything else, consult every political blog with one’s callused finger consistently poised over the “refresh” button, engaging every five minutes or so. With European Election results impending, heaven knows what will happen imminently. Perhaps Hazel Blears will be brought back into the Cabinet as “Happiness Tsar”, with all being forgiven. Or Caroline Flint will be appointed “Women’s Officer” or alternatively “Officer Woman” in the Cabinet Office.
Or I’ll be invited to step in and form a caretaker government, from my seat in the Lords.
As ever, send your notices of electoral support, calumniations and ermine catalogues to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ta ta!