Ash! Ah-aaahhh…

Hi folks! It’s all a bit quiet, really. Nothing to say. Well, apart from an election that’s been blown wide open and a volcano that’s belching tons of ash into the air and knackering travel plans across the continent. Meh.

We’ll start with Eyjafjallajoekull. And, no, this is not the latest villain in Doctor Who (in the vein of Banakafalata and the planet Raxacoricofallapatorius) , but the aforementioned volcano, which is presently contributiong to Iceland’s worryingly frequent habit of dumping its disproportionately large fallout on the rest of Europe. Dave points out just what the ash can do to jet engines (i.e. make them stop) . This has had the knockon effect of forcing the closure of airspace in the UK and subsequently, the rest of Europe. Bill discusses what that means for people, while Stephen reflects on the eerily empty skies on his way into work. Meanwhile, Tom Morton points out that the ash has landed on the northern Shetlands, while Mr. Eugenides is somewhat peeved to note that thanks to the current wind direction, Iceland itself is just going about its business.

Anyway. It’s not just beneath Iceland that tectonic plates have shifted: the first election debate has changed the state of the General Election campaign.

Of course, many were unhappy that a debate on UK-wide television would focus primarily on English issues and exclude players on the Scottish and Welsh political scene, to the extent that Bella Caledonia organised an online hashtag protest.

As for the reaction to the debate, it’s clear that despite the fact that Scotland seemed semi-detached from proceedings given that the majority of questions and answers weren’t on policy that would affect it, the programme qualified as appointment-to-view television, given the sheer amount of comment on it. However, Wot’s News?, Jeff and Subrosa all registered their dismay at the irrelevance of it. Stuart wasn’t happy either, but that had more to do with the actual way in which the programme developed.

Allan and Jess The Dog both took the view that Nick Clegg was the winner, and that Gordon Brown was hit the hardest, and Allan deseves points for comparing the set to that old favourite of mine, 15-to-1. All we needed was for Clegg to receive a fragment of Etruscan pottery at the end of it and the resemblance would have been near total.

On the other hand, Alex Massie, Mr. Eugenides and, it seems, a disappointed Jim Millar agreed that Clegg was the winner, but that it was David Cameron who came off the worst.

Tom Harris suggested that the reception Brown received was more positive from people who had just listened to it on the radio, while Angus Nicolson went further and decided that Brown was the winner. Political Dissuasion, meanwhile, took the view that the evening was the most productive for Cameron.

And there was even online reaction to the reaction. Joan McAlpine distilled how the debate was reported afterwards, while Ideas of Civilisation suggests that people may have seen what they wanted to see (hence the blogosphere reaction) and Scott at Love and Garbage notes the shifting post-debate polls.

On to the election itself. For those wanting a summary of where the campaign and parties stand, look no further than Kirk Elder.

Lallands Peat Worrier casts an unimpressed eye over Scottish Labour’s approach to making and presenting policy in this election.

On policy, Jim Ross looks at the Digital Economy Act, Youth Cancer Forum Scotland reports on a Macmillan campaign setting out what it wants to see from the parties, while Subrosa is exasperated to note that Afghanistan is not getting the attention it should. Perhaps Thursday’s foreign policy debate will remedy that.

In other stories, Tom Harris reflects on local campaign headquarters, while Calum Cashley takes time out to thank those who are taking time out to help him.

Caron wonders if Labour have given up in Livingston, while Jeff reports that the Labour candidate there, Graeme Morrice, has been reported to the police for some of his activities as a West Lothian Councillor.

Meanwhile, Caron reveals that the Tory candidate in Perth & North Perthshire, Peter Lyburn, is in trouble for misrepresenting the opinions of local businessmen (and it’s just occurred to me that at least three of the candidates in that seat are called Peter: the incumbent, the SNP’s Pete Wishart, the Tory Peter Lyburn and the LibDem Peter Barrett – perhaps the constituency should be renamed Pete and North Perthshire?)

And just next door in Ochil & South Perthshire, Jeff plays the footage of the handbags between Schools Minister Keith Brown MSP and Scottish Labour staffer Rami Okasha when Gordon Brown hit the campaign trail in Dollar.

Onto more psephological considerations now, Wot’s News? is exasperated that present opinion polls putting Labour third on votes project an outcome where the party has the most seats, and Scottish Football Blog compares the ridiculousness of First Past the Post to the barking mad SPL split.

And now that we’re on to more important matters, the same blog has a post on possible SPL restructuring, while Fan With A Laptop produces an alternative McLeish Report.

Lallands Peat Worrier has two thoughtful posts on justice: the first on the current state of rape law, and on the Holyrood Justice Committee’s considerations of knife crime.

Meanwhile, Anne McLaughlin MSP looks at suicide intervention training courses.

Back to the election now, and Chris Mounsey, Leader of the Libertrian Party, and more well-known to bloggers as DK, appeared on the Daily Politics where Andrew Neil effectively presented the contents of Devil’s Kitchen and slapped him around with it, the consequences being the deletion of the blog. David Farrer and Robert Sharp reflect on what happened. But fear not! Out of the ashes of Devil’s Kitchen comes Devil’s Knife.

Contently Managed takes a look at the publicity for the new Scotsman iPhone app.

Andy G discusses various failed attempts to place his accent.

Ellen Arnison discusses what it’s like to be followed by Martha Stewart – in the twitter sense, not in the stalky sense, that is.

Aye Tunes reviews this week’s singles, while Rory at Achiltibuie Cottages reviews At The Loch of The Green Corrie, by Andrew Greig.

Michael Greenwell spots an ironic sign in Barcelona.

And finally, Andy G gives us 101 fun things to do in a lift.

That’s your whack for another week – as always you can nominate posts for next week by filling in the flibbertygibbet on the right or dropping us a cod at And of course, we’re on Twitter @ScottishRoundup. Bye-de-bye!