Summer has set in with its usual severity. The stampeding cattle of politics have made haste to pastures new, while hotfooted journos goad their nags into lazy haste, in glib pursuit. For those left behind, without the warm exuberance of the nimble and sweet Tuscan air, the only consolation is to flagellate out their frustrations on necrotised political ponies. And the choice of equine punchbags this week seems limited â€“ but unsurprisingly Scotlandâ€™s bloggers have wired into their rich internal resources, and have kept up peddling their views despite the (relative) absence of an easy story cycle to steal into.
The first lights of the last seven days have been mouth-watering of anticipation of the Glasgow North East By-Election in early Autumn. Despite SNP attempts to play huntsmen and lay snares in the House of Commons, the Labour will carried the day. Calum Cashley donned his anorak and explored some of the procedural detail of this parliamentary vacillation.
One would-be beneficiary of the by-election is the now infamous David Kerr, who must enjoy opening each morningâ€™s crisp newspaper to see what calumny or discord will consume his candidacy next. For most of the week, much of the hullabaloo has run a principled race from the particular to the general, and asks, does it matter that Mr Kerr is a devotee of the Catholic subset Opus Dei?
Various politicians nudged and winked, discreetly, suggesting that it made Kerr a loony. Forward insists that religious intolerance has no place in our civic life. Similarly, Richard Thomson defends Kerr. SNP Tactical Voting couldnâ€™t understand what provoked the mischief, while Scottish Unionist tabulated and catalogued the public disquiet about Kerr expressed by the infamous, greater-saltired Cybernat. Stuart Winton explores the issues more generally, as did that Sassenach man of piety, Cranmer.
Old master MacNumpty, by contrast, with an eye for the political narrative elbowed his readers back towards the forgotten image of loaf-haired Ruth Kelly MP, who shares Kerrâ€™s enthusiasm for the Work of G-d. Where is the historical consciousness, he asks Labourâ€™s innuendo-smeared cadet â€“ and what the price of making a bit of bigoted mischief. To my mind, it is really a question of priorities. If one is disposed to place certain issues of public concern high on your list â€“ Opus Dei membership is an issue. As this heat-and-light generating bloggish discourse has, I trust, revealed.
The other big ticket item of the week was the Norwich North by-election, in which Labour got thumped. Scottish Tory Boy has the full breakdown from the count. In related electoral crowing, James of Two Doctors sends a huzzah to Brighton, where his Greenie cronies romped to triumph in the council by-election.
No huzzahs for Auld Reekie’s Toon Cooncil frae Kezia Dugdale, who roundly abuses the SNP-Liberal Democratic leadership on the issue of rubbish collection, and their handling of the local dispute. Staying with localness in the Lothians, Scotland’s Liberal Democrat blogging contingent paid their fond tributes to the disappearing tribune John Barett MP, representative of the people of Edinburgh West, who is flinging in his political dishcloth at the next election. Both musing Caron and Linlithgow’s Lib Dem Voice opine on the departing Barett.
Since the end of summer is an appropriate season for leave taking, Stephen also discussed the possibility of DIY Devine MP’s repeating Iain Gibson’s trick in Norwich North, and joining the Chiltern Hundreds to shaft his summary-justice dispensing party, and provoking further electoral activity with further by-elections.
In the balmy winds of the Scottish summer, friendliness and cooperation has broken out, Scottish Unionist playing host to a fulsome article from Doctorvee on Federalism, Devolution and Scotland. Meanwhile, John Swinney has raised the issue of a Scottish oil fund again this week, Subrosa dealing with the idea in her post here, while the freshly-sunned, Egypt-warmed Yousuf returns to muse on the crude stuff here. Although far be it from me to impugn the tastiness and culinary vivacity of Tennents Lager – recalling one of Mr MacAskill’s most amusing comments – that Tennents was “cooking lager” – Jeff discusses the fact that the booze’s brewer, Wellpark Brewery is up sale.
Another consequence of August’s imminence is that Cabinet Secretary for Justice, Kenny MacAskill will have to make up his mind on the Libyan request that Megrahi be transferred out of Scotland. Robert Black QC maintains a blog with all of the recent developments here. Worth a look for those of you curious about the legal wrangles and seeking to understand the difference between prisoner transfer and compassionate leave. To end of the theme of justice, I have a post here about the Cirv project, and how a muscle-pumping police strut may not be the answer to youngsters getting embroiled in violent gangs.
And that, as they say, is that for the immaculately polite and discursively elevated crew of Scotland’s political blogging community for this week. Do send in your suggestions for inclusion next week – its all too easy to follow the same old bloglines and overlook the worthy and the thoughtful.