Grilled Sturgeon

Hi folks! It’s been another wacky seven days, and that’s left lots of bloggy goodness for me to sift through this week.

Of course, the main focus of attention has been on Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s donning of her MSP for Glasgow Govan hat to write a character reference for Abdul Rauf, pending his trial for benefit fraud. Though it hasn’t yet been given ‘-gate’ status. Lettergate, perhaps? Anyway, Yousuf notes how the papers currently make bad reading for the DFM, who is at least defended by Alex Salmond, citing the Code of Conduct for MSPs. However, in his defence, he omits a number of qualifications written into the code, prompting Tom Harris MP to accuse the FM of misleading Parliament.

By Thursday lunchtime, there were calls for the Deputy First Minister made by all opposition parties to make an immediate statement to the Scottish Parliament, but the Tories then went on to agree to delay the statement until after the brief Parliamentary recess. Andrew and Stephen rip into the Tories for this apparent U-turn.

However, the main thrust of arguments seems to surround Sturgeon’s judgement in the matter, with Jim Millar and Dave calling it into question. Stuart agrees to an extent, though finds the over-reaction and hyperbole exchanged by both sides exasperating. Subrosa isn’t overly happy either, but believes that it’s not a resigning matter.

Meanwhile, Malc offers the DFM his cautious backing, and stronger support comes from Caron, who argues that she would have done the same thing under the circumstances.

Also, Jeff takes a look at dodgy characters given support by politicians of other political hues and wonders why they don’t have ‘serious questions to answer’ as well, while James Kelly worries that this row will ultimately impact on the service and support that Parliamentarians will be willing to offer their constituents.

And speaking of MSPs duties, Richard Havers clocks a nearly-empty Holyrood debating chamber and wonders quite what MSPs are paid to do in the first place.

Still, Lettergate, or whatever you want to call it, has knocked Lunchgate off the front pages, but Ideas of Civilisation has managed to produce three posts on the story and its implications. Stuart, meanwhile, condenses his views on the story, the reaction to it, and its reporting into one thoughtful post.

And the reporting of the two stories draws comments at Bella Caledonia, where it’s noted that they’ve been prioritised ahead of other, arguably more serious matters.

Incidentally, there might be another ‘-gate’ brewing: SNP Tactical Voting-gate. It turns out that Jeff is the subject of a press release by Margaret Curran, and he doesn’t seem too cut up about it. But I daresay he won’t mind the supportive character reference from James Kelly.

The real online scandal can be found in the companies trying to use the present trends for social networking sites as a source of a quick and easy buck (so easy, in fact, that it doesn’t really require the services of a third party to sort out): Contently Managed has the story.

And speaking of social media phonies, someone’s been gallivanting around the internet pretending to be Councillor Terry Kelly – remember him? Of course you do. The fake has been wreaking havoc on Comment is Free, he/she/it/they went on to make an appearance in the Comments section over at Harry’s Place. This got the attention of CiFwatch, and ultimately, the real Terry Kelly had to venture onto Harry’s Place to try and clear things up, augmenting his response with a post on his own site. Since then, Terry has had to issue further posts on the matter, given continuing attacks and the appearance of the story in the local press. Now at the risk of editorialising, everyone knows that I’m not exactly the man’s biggest supporter, but really, this just isn’t funny anymore.

Anyway, in more pleasant blogging news, Contently Managed are publicising the latest Scottish social media dinner, to be held this Wednesday, and Tom Harris has his top ten tips for political blogging.

In other news, the Scottish Tories had their shindig this week, and Fitaloon offers two supportive posts. A less supportive post comes from James.

Andrew hails the defection of Glasgow SNP Councillor Alex Dingwall to the LibDems. It’s interesting that John McNamee’s defection to Labour provoked far more comments from across the spectrum, but this move provoked little comment from outside the LibDem blogosphere, save a quick post from Yousuf. Perhaps it’s because Cllr Dingwall was more respected, more of a stalwart, and has fewer bones to bury than his South Lanarkshire counterpart. Or perhaps it’s because he switched to the Liberal Democrats rather than Labour. Who can say?

Stephen notes with dismay that regardless of the outcome of the election, VAT may be going up to 20%. Leaving aside the monetary impact, on the plus side, this makes it easy to calculate – simply divide by five, then add, or to calculate the net amount, simply divide by six then subtract. On the other hand, it’s a passport to nervous breakdowns for accountants and financial or purchasing systems administrators…

Richard Thomson notes the support for a referendum on further legislative powers for the Welsh Assembly and asks why, when that vote is backed, and a referendum on the Alternative Vote has government support, the economic situation is too murky for a vote on Scottish independence.

Further afield, Subrosa takes a look at the possibility of Sarah Palin making a bid for the US Presidency in 2012.

More locally, We Know SFA considers Steven Pressley’s chances of keeping Falkirk in the SPL.

On a more sober note, Stephen discusses the overshadowing of the Opening of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, with the death of Georgian lugist Nodar Kumaritashvili.

On a lighter note, Ellen Arnison is perturbed to be turning into her mother.

Here’s an intriguing gem over at Except the Kyles and Western Isles: an obituary of Highlands & Islands GP Dr. Martha Devon from the 1960s.

Kasia has her reflections of Valentine’s Day.

From the gallery, Claudia Massie conjures up a romantic image of Perthshire, while Heidi Kuisma gives us a couple of images which are decidedly less romantic, though do have something to say about the way we live.

Finally, good news from BellgroveBelle, who is expecting her first child – congrats!

And that’s very much your whack for another week. Portis Wasp is in the hotseat next week, and as always, you can nominate posts for inclusion using the diddlydoodah on the right, dropping us a line at or following our Twitter account @ScottishRoundup. But from me, it’s bye-de-bye!