Hello again! Holyrood is already in recess, Westminster is heading in that direction and many political bloggers are also taking a breather. Tom Harris went underground for a few days, Yousuf is off abroad and Andrew Burns is trying to â€œregain some semblance of normal family lifeâ€. There have been no political posts in the past seven days from any of James, Duncan or Mike. So I have somewhat slimmer than usual pickings this week.
The lead political story for much of the week was of course the selection of a replacement SNP candidate following James Dornanâ€™s withdrawal from the Glasgow North East by-election because of a potentially damaging Sunday Herald article. Forward wondered if David Kerr, the previously rejected candidate, was having second thoughts about standing again. Jeff agreed that this was likely and thought Anne â€œIndygalâ€ McLaughlin should step into the breach. She issued a prompt denial and Jeff backed down.
Meanwhile Malc took the Scotsman to task for characterising the nationalistsâ€™ situation as â€œmeltdownâ€ but Dave (no, not that Dave â€“ do keep up!) suggested that the SNPâ€™s internal discipline might not be as tight as it once was.
Elsewhere, Angus claimed that Grant Thoms â€” who had declined to stand allegedly because of his now deleted blog â€” had discovered that â€œin the new SNP there is no place for those who are prepared to express their views in public, without official sanctionâ€.
Then when it emerged that David Kerr wanted to follow through, and was now the only candidate, Stephen lamented the â€œHobsonâ€™s choiceâ€. Jeff wondered if Kerrâ€™s lack of local credentials may harm his chances and I tried to get to the bottom of contradictory claims over his supposedly â€œstrong connectionsâ€ to the constituency.
Next, Kezia alleged â€œsour grapesâ€ from SNP members who were â€œalmost convinced that the bankruptcy expose in the Sunday Herald was an inside job actioned right from the very topâ€. BellgroveBelle issued a strong denial, helped by a picture of smiling party members after the selection meeting, whom Indygal said would all have been â€œvery happyâ€ to have Grant as their candidate, had been â€œdelightedâ€ when James was selected and were now â€œextremely happyâ€ that David will contest the seat.
In the end, Stuart banged all our heads together and told us to grow up. Fair point!
Next a lighter topic: T in the Park. Montague found a picture of Jack McConnell, allegedly the â€œlaziest man in Scottish politicsâ€, taking his ease at the festival. Jim Murphy blogged that it had been a â€œbrilliant eventâ€ and a â€œgreat advert for Scotlandâ€, but over at the Steamie, Chris Mackie poked fun at the Scottish Secretary for getting â€œdown wiff da kidzâ€.
John Mason MP went slightly off-message this week, admitting to a Westminster committee that the Alex Salmond for First Minister ballot paper tactic was â€“ to use his words â€“ â€œa bit naughtyâ€. Stephen described it as a â€œtrick of personality that cannot be repeated to win the debate on independenceâ€, I expressed the view that the nationalistsâ€™ proposed referendum question â€œsanitises and muddies the issueâ€ and Nationalist Mythbusting examined possible alternative forms of wording.
Cricket now. Sandra White MSP lamented what she called â€œwall-to-wallâ€ television coverage of the Ashes and was roundly criticised by Rob Marrs, Alex Massie, David Maddox, Tom Peterkin, Scottish Tory Boy, Zippy and Jim. Oh, and me â€” well, obviously!
The news that the Westminster standards commissioner is to investigate Alex Salmondâ€™s expense claims drew a mixed reaction. Jeff described it as â€œa rare ‘hit’â€ on the First Minister while Will took exception to the costs incurred to generate such hits, thereby prompting Caron to argue that theyâ€™re entirely separate issues.
Reports that the Conservatives may kick the Calman Commission report into the long grass irked Jeff, who argued that David Cameron â€œdoesnâ€™t have a handle on how to â€˜dealâ€™ with the SNPâ€. Wardog thought that the â€œpan-unionist allianceâ€ is being stretched to breaking point. And Crap Holyrood Chat featured a verbose motion set down by Kenneth Gibson expressing disappointment at the reportâ€™s â€œrather timid recommendationsâ€.
Miscellaneous posts now. Mr H was unimpressed by a Scottish Government housing advice service. Calum Cashley waded into the argument about whether or not the 450th anniversary of Reformation should be marked. Subrosa penned a moving tribute to the people of Wootton Bassett for the dignity they have shown in receiving and honouring our fallen soldiers. Lallands Peat Worrier reviewed the case against Tommy Sheridan. The ever-prolific Jeff cited a survey of 144 Tory MPs on the issue of Scottish independence. Malc lauded European tolerance. And moving further afield, Jack Deighton reported on Republican attempts to question Barack Obamaâ€™s right to be US President.
I have one interesting new blog to share with you this week: From the Peripheries, which promises â€œfaintly pretentious, questionably engaging and consistently sensible modern Scottish Conservatism, of a liberal and unionist bentâ€.
And thatâ€™s your lot! Next weekâ€™s editor is still unconfirmed, but please email suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @ScottishRoundup or use the nomination form in the right sidebar. Humble apologies for the groanworthy headline, and bye for now!