Christ is risen!
Ish, maybe, certainly, or not! Delete as your own cosmological preferences tend.Â Whether redeemed or unredeemable, thirsting after righteousness or thirsting after a breakfast Chablis, I invite you this lustrously distilled Easter round-up of the Scottish blogosphere’sÂ obsessions, hobby horses, private feuds, political commitments and existential reflections. Welcome to the just and unjust alike – let’s just hope it doesn’t rain. As with most weeks when politics is under scrutiny, it has been seven days of fools, sacred and profane – with more mischievous comment from the sagacious souls of Scottish blogging than you can shake your jester’s rattle at. Hopefully I’ll do all your labours justice.
Without further ado, in case you missed a gentle chortle or two at the traditional April Fools’ lies and distortions, All Media Scotland has the scoop on some of the ardent fooleries that bubbled up in the Scottish press on the first of this month, while Mr Eugenides takes us chastely by the hand and leads us down the wider ways of April foolery.
For comment on the ongoing, international discussion of culpability and the clerical abuse of children, see Martin Kelly on an article in the Irish Times, which he enlarges upon eloquently. In other matters divine, I used Good Friday to produce one of my very favourite paintings by El Greco, and mused a little on the message of Good Friday, Christ and our would-be Christly politicians.
Meanwhile, in Scotland’s august halls of learning…
Ian Hamilton QC has a worthwhile thought of two on history as an emetic â€“ and throws an elbow at â€œHoly Tom Devineâ€ while heâ€™s at it, rejecting the pious historiography symbolised for Hamilton by the history Professor’s â€œmouth clenched over many resplendent chinsâ€. Staying in the fustian cloisters of Scotland’s universities, the heroically named Hector MacQueen, professor at the University of Edinburghâ€™s School of Law and arch-servitor of the Scots Law News blog, heralds the call of Edinburgh novelist and former professor of medical law, Alexander McCall Smith, into the convocation of the sainted that is the Faculty of Advocates. It is understood that McCall Smith will not be hearing the siren call of practice, nor playing the aged junior by grubbing about for briefs under Parliament Hallâ€™s beamed roof. Alan Trench, again of Edinburgh University, has ruminated, cogitated and digested the Scottish Governmentâ€™s consultation paper on a Scottish independence referendum. Here is what he has to say. Outwith the Arts and Humanities, Neil Craig has bestowed a report of the Royal Philosophical Society of Glasgow Lecture upon us, as delivered by Professor Anne Glover, the Scottish Governmentâ€™s Chief Science Advisor. Craig was â€œnot impressedâ€ by the good lady professorâ€™s remarks on on global warming.
Holyrood & Local Matters
â€œPurcell saga, is that it then?â€ Asks Jeff, after Glesca Cooncil rejected the idea of an independent inquiry into the broader implications of Purcellâ€™s collapse by a vote of 23 for and 48 agin.Â Joan McAlpine argues that Glasgowâ€™s â€œTammany Hall never died, it just had a makeoverâ€, advocating an illuminated Beowulf to slay this Cain-marked morass of favours, secret dealing and the complex place purchasing that a political culture based on patronage fosters. Extending and much enlarging on the point, the resurrected Moridura (or should that be rescuitated, along more Lazarushian lines) has composed an extended contemplation of externalisation, corruption and the Labour-dominated councilâ€™s activities. Subrosa also has more on the local authorityâ€™s range of Arms-Length Organisations and the suspicions attaching to their remunerated, comfortable positions.Â Mike Small, of Bella Caledonia, puts the indictment crisply: â€œHuckster nationâ€, he writes. Scottish Labour’s Yousuf Hamid, meanwhile, and in a wholly unrelated matter, makes his case for a bit of rejigging in our public life, by directly electing mayors for our cities.
In a judgemental, teacherly hand, Mr J Arthur MacNumpty MA has written up his termly report card on Holyroodâ€™s attendances, absences and rebellions in the Spring Whip. Over in Edinburgh, the folk who want Leith to be a mite Greener pose a number of questions concerning Forth Energyâ€™s scheme for a biomass power plant on their local Leith docks. Matters of magnitude and concerns of residents are raised. Meanwhile, in other civilised pursuits in Scotland’s capital, Jade Dickinson helpfully provides the curious with a few suggestions about how to embroider the simple pleasures of treading Auld Reekieâ€™s cobbled streets and avoiding the rain under the poised stones of its dark dust wynds and closes.Â Â Also, for those who appreciate longer papers, and wish to wile away the hours of this Easter Sunday but are tired of the Gospels – you know how it all ends after all, which was always bound to diminish narrative tension – Gerry Hassan has tacked up a critical piece composed by Eric Shaw and himself, on the â€œDoctrine and Ethos in the Scottish Labour Partyâ€.
Suitably Despairing suitably despairs about trying to interact with our European representatives, but has a good word to say (shock horror!) for the little elves and sprites that do service for Struan Stevenson MEP. Finally, Subrosa blogs on the two-brace of our august Holyrood tribunes, who are being catapulted across the Atlantic on business-class flights to have a chin-wag about â€œclimate change, sustainable transport and opportunities around the green economyâ€. Rosie is not impressed.
Scottish Socialist Youth report on the resignation of yet another government expert this week. Eric Carlin, from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs fled the scene over the Government’s hasty criminalisation of mephedrone.
Westminster General Election Ballyhoos & Mischiefs
Richard Thomson, prospective Westminster parliamentary candidate for the SNP in Gordon (this always struck me as a terrifically pretentious phrase, by the byâ€¦) noted in â€˜Picking Fights â€“ Part XVIIIâ€™ â€“ that â€œWe all know how the SNP Government picks endless fights with London – it’s all the party exists for.â€ Stephen Glenn, would be yellow-feather deputy for Linlithgow and East Falcrack, detected a candid admission that â€œif that is all the party exists for then they really are not a political party but a prize boxer.â€ Not so, riposted Thomson, who insists that the protuberance which Glenn spots in his hamster-like cheek is merely his tongue. Simple irony, simply misunderstood by the pecking Liberal Democrat canary.
Speaking of yellow birds, this morning Andrew Reeves relays melancholy news for the Tories in Glasgow South West, whose candidate has thrown in her particular electoral towel, cursing what she styles â€œa nest of vipersâ€ within her party. A Gallus Glaswegian â€“ which to some will strike the mind as an obvious tautology â€“ continues the speculative discourse on hanged parliaments (if not parliamentarians) after the Westminster general election. Political Dissuasion proffers some matters, worthy of political attention, that he suggests are being sorely neglected in the plodding Westminster General Election campaign, includingÂ the Olympics, Trident nuclear missiles and the ongoing loss of life attending the continuing British military expedition in Afghanistan.Â Meanwhile, one of the boys in blue, New Rightâ€™s Dean MacKinnon-Thomson argues, contra a screeching philistine harpy in the Times, that the state has a role and public coffers a place in fostering â€˜the Artsâ€™. Banking collapse should not result in a bonfire of subsidies, he submits.
Stephen Glenn opines that â€œGrayling Not fit to be Home Secretaryâ€ in the light of reports in the Observer about the Tory MP’s views on the justness of Bed and Breakfast exceptionalism on the vexed question of whether proprietors of doily-decorated dwellinghouses should be permitted to turning away same-sex couples from their doors on conscientious grounds.Â On the same subject, Bill Cameron, who to my understanding is generally of a warmish conservative disposition, thinks that the Tories are â€œtrying to have it both ways on gay rightsâ€ and that Graylingâ€™s remarks should be repudiated from the centre post-haste.
Boom and Bust contends, contra to the claims circulating in other quarters, that the SNP can win Glenrothes, and offers suggestions on how this mighty task may yet be realised. Young Yousuf also indulges in a bit of a partisan tweak of the Maximum Eckâ€™s low-hanging nipples, suggesting that Salmond will pocket a Westminster resettlement package of Â£60,000-odd because he anticipates imminent electoral defeat. An Easter nest egg to see him through the impending Labour triumph. Innocents can dream, I suppose! On the Salmondâ€™s swagbag, however, SNP bloggers have been equally unimpressed, Jeff coining the brutal phrase that it â€œdoesn’t look great that he’s receiving his own personal fiscal stimulus while so many suffer, while bankers have bonuses frozen and senior civil servants’ remuneration curtailedâ€. No election is complete without the tangerine phizog of Tommy Sheridan gurning from the platform. This week, with a sliver of Hamlet, I discussed the law’s delay and the Sheridans’ ever-pending trial for perjury, which will now commence in September.
On which note, I will draw this fitful fever of comment and conversation to a close and wish you all a placid, tranquil Easter weekend, and happy reading in a Wordsworth-time worth saying of that:
“It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is as quiet as a Nun,
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquillity;
The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the sea.”
This being Scotland, of course, the evening is apt to be loudly galeful, dreich and drookit, and breathing like your proverbial asthmatic nun, her every gulp of air a restive rattle. Despite this, lounge surrounded by your spent chocolate-wrapping halos and enjoy yourselves.
Cheerio till we meet again!