Avoiding the wooden spoon

Greetings one and all, and welcome to this week’s Scottish Blogging Roundup. It is, as the nurse said to the patient, “months since I’ve been in this position”, so it’s good to see you all again. (No, really, that is what the nurse said to the patient.)

Apart from Scotland’s marvellous win at Croke Park on Saturday – which leads Alex Massie to award our national team the accolade of second most satisfying campaign of the Six Nations – most of the attention this week has, as ever, been on politics, with the small matter of an election in the offing. Neither of Scotland’s two main parties arguably have their troubles to seek at the moment, and this is reflected in some of the nominations on show in our mailbag.

The Purcell affair continues to resonate (not that you’d necessarily know it from reading Labour blogs, of course…) – with The Universality of Cheese and Planet Politics both weighing in with their tuppence ha’penny. Yapping Yusuf, meanwhile, prefers to look at the broader picture – what on earth, he asks, is the point of voting SNP at a UK General Election? He would say that, of course, but there’s no doubt that the SNP need to come out fighting and state a positive case for their relevance in a Westminster context. At SNP Tactical Voting, Jeff argues that Alex Salmond did exactly that (and read the comment thread, too).

The week also saw the passing of former SNP leader Billy Wolfe. Calum Cashley paid tribute to a friend.

And let us not – of course! – forget the Lib Dems. Stephen Glenn asks, quite reasonably, why ITV’s interview with Nick Clegg was shown in every region except Scotland. I am, for once, in full agreement: one can never have too much Mary Nightingale.

As the election approaches we can expect the Scottish blogosphere to become a more and more fractious place, so it’s probably good to know that there are some things that unite bloggers of left and right, male and female, Unionist and Nat. I refer, naturally, to the news, brought to use by Andrew Reeves, that Jack McConnell has been in negotiations with the Tories for a job in their new administration. There’s a prospect that can give us all the boak.

Is the BBC’s Question Time biased against the Tories? Braveheart’s Blog suspects not. Given the constant whingeing of Labour, Tories, Lib Dems, Nats, UKIPpers and BNPers about how terribly unfair the programme is to them every time they are on (or bumped from the lineup), it’s perhaps best to tune out all the complaints. Then again, given some of the dross that’s been on recently, a lot of people are tuning out QT altogether these days.

Wrapping up our political roundup, Lallands Peat Worrier considers what it is like to be a Scottish blogger in England ahead of an election which fills him, as he puts it, “with a species of mounting and mortal dread”. (Don’t worry, I think we all feel the same way.) Ideas of Civilisation considers Labour’s proposals to reform the House of Lords, after what seems like a century of dithering. And last, but certainly not least, Shuggy draws our attention to the latest legal action involving Scotland’s favourite son, George Galloway, who is threatening to sue David T of Harry’s Place.

Edinburgh University has been in the news for the “wrong” reasons this week, due to a minor spat over their admissions policy. I must say that I hadn’t previously marked them down as the most anti-English of establishments, given the frequency with which one hears the Home Counties bray in the student pubs of the Old Town (and the frosty reaction I got when I cheered this goal in the Teviot Union two years ago). But Tom Harris, at least initially, had a right go at them, before Alex Massie’s sensible piece prompted him to reconsider and issue a very magnanimous retraction.

And, while we are tangentially talking of football (or, at least, I am), Rob Marrs is picking his greatest ever Scotland XI. Jim Leighton in goal? Apparently

Still on sport, and Doctorvee gives us his take on a forgettable Bahrain Grand Prix, the first of the season. Caron agrees: “dull, dull, dull”.

From motor racing, seamlessly, to the environment. Two Doctors is unimpressed with the SNP’s stance on a new power station at Hunterston, with each choice in this week’s three-option vote attracting an exactly even number of SNP MSPs. Meanwhile, from a slightly different perspective, Bishop Hill updates us on the reception for his book, and takes on some critics.

Mephedrone is the media scare story of the week. Caron shares what seems to this blogger to be sound common sense on the issue. On the other hand, I can’t say that I agree with Lena the Hyena when she says that Shakespeare should be booted from the Scottish curriculum, but do read and make up your own mind:

” Critics have heaped derision on Braveheart for tampering with historical fact but Shakespeare’s Macbeth is no different. Whether for political advantage or out of ignorance the story relating to King Macbeth of Scotland became corrupted and that distorted myth has become the accepted version of events throughout the world.

Shakespeare is revered as the most talented of Britain’s writers. Well that’s open to discussion. Sometimes a guy gets a lucky break and then it becomes a case of the Emperor’s new clothes… “

Neil Craig blogs on the extradition proceedings against alleged Bosnian war criminal Ejup Ganic.

Getting arty just for a moment, We Sink Ships has a lovely collection of photography on display here. Shirl’s Gardenwatch brings us some pics of a gorgeous sparrowhawk. To mark St Patrick’s Day, Joan McAlpine introduces us to The Orthodox Celts, whose music is certainly more attractive than their dress code. And the Edinburgh Rock Network reviews the Lostprophets at the Corn Exchange last Sunday.

Lastly on our nation’s capital, a quick quiz: where do you reckon this photo comes from? Beats me, I must admit.

And finally, the Flying Rodent takes exception to Times columnist and blogger Oliver Kamm in a post which, with due profanity warning in place, I heartily recommend. Kamm’s politics are probably rather closer to my own than those of the author, but we should all appreciate a good hatchet job when we see one. But be careful, Rodent: Oliver is bigger and fitter than you are.

That’s all for this week; but keep the nominations coming in, in the comments or by email, Twitter or any of the other methods on the sidebar. Cheers, all.

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