Debate debates and constitutional conundra

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s roundup!

There has been much debate about debates this week. The prospects of a televised debate between the political leaders in the run-up to the next General Election are increasing. With it has come grumbling from the SNP, who are threatening legal action if they do not have a presence in such a debate.

Oddly, they are not so keen on taking part in a debate about Scotland’s constitutional future, as Iain Gray has suggested. Yousuf outlines why he thinks a head-to-head debate between Iain Gray and Alex Salmond should take place.

For Stephen Glenn, the desire of the SNP to “bully” the UK-wide agenda while ignoring a Scottish debate is a problem of ego. Maybe this is how Alex Salmond sees himself?

As part of Liberal Democrat Voice’s ‘Haggis, Neeps and Liberalism’ series, Bernard Salmon adds his thoughts on the debate debate.

Richard Leyton calls the SNP’s stance “bizarre”. Shuggy is fairly scathing too.

Nonetheless, the SNP’s objections raise an important point about impartiality in broadcasting. Ideas of Civilisation considers how you could make such televised debates fair.

According to Malc, if you were to only invite those who had a realistic chance of being the next Prime Minister, only David Cameron would be invited to the debate.

Scott at Love and Garbage has come one step closer to world fame, with his joke about Barack Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize reaching the mainstream media. “All of the world population to be rewarded with Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 because we’re not George W Bush either.

John Ault says that Obama’s honour is like receiving a standing ovation before the speech. Michael Greenwell was left totally unimpressed by the decision of the Nobel committee.

Scotland’s External Affairs minister Michael Russell is blogging about his visit to India this week.

Amid the news that 100 more jobs will be lost at The Scotsman as it moves printing to Glasgow, Mike Smith has fears over “the continuing demise of The Scotsman“.

Jeff considers the news that the Lib Dems will be reviewing their policy on an independence referendum. According to Malc, this means that Scotland’s constitutional future lies in the hands of Ross Finnie!

Richard Thomson looks at what it means for the Lib Dems. He suggests that Tavish Scott’s hand may have been forced as a result of “discomfit” among members over the party’s previously hardline stance on the issue. But from my perspective, the fact that SNP bloggers have reacted most excitedly, in comparison to the relative silence from Lib Dems, says it all.

Tom Griffin at Open Democracy has a good overview of analysis on the Lib Dems’ move.

Still on constitutional matters, Lallands Peat Worrier extends an olive branch to the much-maligned party list system used for elections to the Scottish Parliament. He sees the virtues in the system.

The option to vote for a party may not be much use to Alex Massie. He considers voting behaviour, and recommends that people should vote for the candidate, not the party.

Following the Conservative Party conference, Will Patterson asks if we are witnessing the rise of the “Teflon Tories”. Alex Massie noted that David Cameron’s speech was perhaps too much on the bleak side.

Meanwhile, Stephen Glenn has noticed a contradiction in Nick Robinson’s coverage of the political conferences.

The Conservatives’ policy on a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty is facing increased scrutiny. Caron has a guest post from Lib Dem MEP George Lyon on the issue.

Winding up for the Glasgow North East by-election, the date for which was finally announced this week, Chris Jones at Leaves on the Line has produced a handy translation guide for Glasgow Labour political slogans.

Andrew Reeves criticises government plans to cut back on the Territorial Army.

Some comments Ian Hislop made on Question Time about Yvette Cooper have raised eyebrows. I don’t watch the programme myself — I personally prefer to remain sane. But Yousuf makes some interesting points about Mr Hislop’s comments.

Ian Hislop isn’t the only one to put his foot in it this week. Jeff was left unimpressed by comments made on Twitter by Ben Bradshaw about David Cameron’s son.

Tracey Emin is promising to leave the country due to high taxes. But as Clairwil points out, if you are moving for tax reasons, why on earth would you choose to move to France?

Dave at Holyrood Chronicles calls Nasa’s attempt to bomb the moon “vandalism”.

At least two bloggers took part in last week’s Loch Ness Marathon. Malc did a great job, completing the run in 3 hours and 41 minutes, with his friend Audrey finishing after 5 hours and 4 minutes. They have raised a staggering £1,500 for MS Scotland — amazing stuff.

Boxthejack also ran the marathon, raising money for Middle East Nonviolence and Democracy.

Joan McAlpine celebrates the 40th birthday of Scottish Ballet.

As I write, the Snooker Grand Prix is currently taking place at the Kelvin Hall. I am quite a fan of snooker, but James Kelly at Scot Goes Pop! notes a fundamental problem with the sport — the better the players, the more boring the spectacle. An interesting thought.

Photography is fast becoming a regular in Scottish Roundup, and this week we are brought footprints in the sand.

And that’s all for this week. Next week’s roundup will be ably brought to you by Will P. So get those nominations in as always, either by using the handy contact form on the right, or by emailing us at Thanks!