Hi folks! Holyrood might be in recess but there’s still been plenty to chew on this week, especially with the last of the Conferences taking place, as the SNP gather in Inverness.
But the main thing that’s got people to their keyboards this week is the Trafigura affair, where libel lawyers Carter Ruck successfully took out an injunction banning the Guardian from reporting on a parliamentary question asked in the Commons, concerning Trafigura dumping toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. Of course, the Guardian proceeded to report that they couldn’t report on it, and bloggers picked up on that story and duly joined the dots.
BellgroveBelle, Caron, Jess the Dog. Anseo and Bernard Salmon all reflect on the attack on the freedom of the press â€“ heaven forfend that a newspaper might want to report the facts â€“ and the inadvertant damage caused to both Carter Ruck and Trafigura by the heavy-handed legal action. Mr. Eugenides notes that attempts to suppress stories tend to backfire, while Alex Massie notes that Carter Ruck have, in fact, managed to ignore their own advice on this matter.
On a similar note, the blogosphere might not like what Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders has to say, but are pleased that he can finally come to the UK to say it: Alex Massie and Bernard Salmon discuss the matter, but Mr. Eugenides wants to know the real reason behind UKIP’s invitation to the man.
Tying into the issue of freedom of speech was the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately. Caron and Stephen mourn his passing, while Anne McLaughlin s horrifed that, in some circles, it’s become a laughing matter.
But the controversy began when Jan Moir of the Daily Mail waded in, and managed to offend… well, everyone, really. Whatever happened to speaking ill of the dead? Clairwil rips into Jan Moir, while Andrew and Stephen are equally livid. Mr. Eugenides notes that it was ill-advised for them to refer to tweets from Stephen Fry in the very week that he’d used his Twitter feed to slate the paper for publishing Jan Moir’s piece.
Jeff, meanwhile, is perplexed at the general hysteria surrounding both this issue and a handful of tweets by Pete Wishart MP that got other parties foaming at the mouth. Stuart Winton is less than impressed at the hysterical reaction â€“ and the reaction to the reaction.
To other matters now, and the upcoming Glasgow North East By-Election: Kezia has a few snippets from the front-line, Andrew notes a collection of gaffes on the part of the Labour campaign, but Yousuf believes that the SNP Conference has created a ‘lost weekend’ for SNP activists, many of whom are in Inverness, and not Glasgow, while Tom Harris isn’t impressed by the SNP’s use of private leaflet distributors. Meanwhile, Yousuf notes that Alex Salmond is trying to manage expectations of the SNP’s By-Election performance.
Staying with the SNP, activists have been gathering in Inverness: BellgroveBelle reports on speechs by John Swinney and Alex Salmond, while Jeff files his own dispatches from Eden Court, as does Anne McLaughlin, whose post I’m not mentioning just because I was part of the act that beat her at the Nat Factor, oh no. Stuart, meanwhile, casts a more sceptical eye on proceedings.
And one of the big talking points of the Conference is how the SNP will react to a Hung Parliament: James compares the SNP’s potential relationship with the UK Government under those circumstances to the realationship between the Greens and Scottish Government at Holyrood. Meanwhile, the possibility that the SNP might find itself dealing with the Tories has produced a â€œVote SNP, Get Toryâ€ campaign from Labour. Andy Sharp responds, pointing out the realities of tactical (and otherwise) voting in East Lothian, while Jeff reckons that SNP Tactical Voting is the way forward. But then, he would say that, wouldn’t he?
Of course, all this talk of a Hung Parliament serves to remind us that a Tory Government isn’t as inevitable as some think, as both Stuart and Yousuf point out. That’s particularly true when you factor in the ‘Anyone but the Tories’ attitude that Duncan discusses.
And with the election around six months away, discussions on voter apathy come with it. Wendy Fraser, guesting at Malc’s blog, looks at why she still finds it worthwhile taking part in the democratic process.
But it’s little wonder that people might not wish to bother, with the expenses scandal rumbling on, and the Legg report adding a new twist to proceedings. Jess the Dog reminds us that we have the power to eject them. Subrosa argues that MP’s caught with their hands in the till should be fired, Malc isn’t overly happy with the actual basis of the Legg report â€“ which expects MP’s to pay back claims that were perfectly valid when they made them â€“ while Mark Lazarowicz is relieved that he, at least, can draw a line under matters.
Andy is unhappy that David Miliband backs the release of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi for diplomatic reasons and not compassionate grounds.
Subrosa is disturbed at the state of industrial relations within Royal Mail.
James is thrilled to welcome Debra Storr, one of the Aberdeenshire Councillors caught up in the Donald Trump row, to the Green Party.
Ideas of Civilisation is exasperated by the sensationalism and oversimplification at the heart of the MSM’s reporting style.
And with the news that a company is looking for a Glaswegian translator, Anne McLaughlin produces a Glasgow-English phrasebook.
Of course, that may come in handy if the Old Firm quit the SPL for the English Premier League. Rob Marrs reflects on the issues at the heart of this, but I am sceptical. Rob is also sceptical about the idea of the North Atlantic League being proposed again.
Staying with snooker, James Kelly reflects on the state of the game.
Finally, Scottish Unionist has announced his retirement from the blogosphere. Here’s hoping that he, like many others, goes on to change his mind.
And that’s it for another week. If you want to send in a link for next week’s Roundup, you can use the thingamajig on the right, or send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on Twitter: @ScottishRoundup. Bye-de-bye!