We’ve had a last minute field-promotion here at the Scottish Roundup, and yours truly has been cheerfully and willingly dragooned into composing this exceedingly last-minute overview of Scotland’s blogging interests over the last week. Apologies pre-emptively to those of you who prefer to live more de-politicised lives – what follows will by necessity rather retrace what the fine folk have had to say who populate my own blog roll. And they’re almost all party hacks, anoraks and sundry analysts. Nevertheless, plenty,Â I’d submit, to divert the open-minded!
From Holyrood: Prison, knife crime and crofters…
It has been an immensely busy legislative week for Holyrood, with final stage 3 deliberations on both the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill and the equally creatively entitled Crofting Reform Bill. At stake were eye-catching criminal justice stories including presumptions against short term prison sentences and Labour’s Tory-backed proposals to introduce a presumption that knife-carriers be send to jail for a period of at least six months. Aptly enough, on the very day the Criminal Justice Bill was debated, the Lord Chancellor Kenneth Clark gave a speech on the potential virtues of doing away with short term prison sentences. Dean McKinnon-Thomson asks does prison work? His Tory comrades in the Scottish Parliament had no doubts and no qualms. Prison is just dandy, they claimed, and voted for as much of it as possible, a position which I rather volubly dispute. James Kelly describes the defeat of minimum sentences for knife-possession and the general abolition (albeit conditional and contingent rather than absolute) of short-term prison sentences as a defeat for the forces of conservatism in Scotland. Alex Massie generally supported Clark’s theorising and described Holyrood’s practical moves to bring them into effect as a “shocking, startling outbreak of good sense”. Was Mr Massie was a mite surprised, do you think?
Subrosa dips into her own origins, and describes the final passage of the Reform Bill a ‘historic week for crofters’.
Like many of us, Jeff’s mind is turning to the Holyrood election on the 5th of May 2011. This week, he sets down his tactical thinking, positing “ten factors which will decide the Holyrood election.” Tris, rugged Consul of Munguin’s Republic, responds with a further analysis of what is at stake for Salmond, Gray and emphasises the importance of communication. Also with the election in mind, Mark Ferguson of MorhamburnÂ – a public affairs and media relations company Based in Edinburgh – asks, “Where is the centre of gravity for the SNP?” Similar questions are preying on the mind of Gerry Hassan, who discussed the Maximum Eck’s recent remarks on the SNP’s mission and how independence for Scotland fits into that project. Whether as a deliberate longjumper or an accidental highjumper, Hassan wonders if this is Alex Salmond’s “big leap forward (or not)”.
This week as also seen EnCore’s discovery of an untapped pool of oil, 110 miles off the coast of Aberdeen. Both Bellgrove Belle and Subrosa don hard hat and goggles and take a look at the implications of this unanticipated new well of black gold – and aptly enough ask just who will benefits from its glistering ebon flow.Â Power and Its Minions dons his expert and satirical white coat to explain another truly significant breakthrough, dealing not so much with the constitution of the earth’s crust, but rather more with the governance of these islands of ours.
From Westminster: AV referendum, Your Freedom, Gay Marriage…
Jeff may wish to add an eleventh factor to his analysis, with the news that the Coalition’s referendum on the Alternative Vote system is scheduled to fall on the very same day next year. Nick Clegg’s coinciding plebiscite plan has been vehemently criticised from many quarters of the Scottish political world, both procedurally and substantively. Alex Porter has a sharp word or two to say, while Ian MacQuarrie gets a sinking feeling. James Kelly is going so far as to get out his political death certificates, with a post entitled “Respect agenda, RIP”. On the more general question of the substance of Alternative voting – I can’t decide how to vote and would appreciate help in making up my mind. Meanwhile, Big Rab discusses one of the Westminster coalition’s other big plans – the so-called Great Repeal BillÂ and the Your Freedom site they’ve set up to solicit suggestions of ‘unnecessary laws’ from the public common. In which association, Caron confesses to her own shameless and wicked history of lawlessness.
Marching at this year’s London Pride, bushel-topped Mayor of the city, pressed by Peter Tatchell, Boris Johnson said thatÂ â€œIf we can have a coalition between Tories and Lib Dems, why can’t we have gay marriage?â€ Dean MacKinnon-Thomson of the New Right argues that the Conservatives should pursue Boris’ proposal in earnest. Meanwhile Stephen the Yellow Bonnet Laird of Linlithgow experiences mild raptures and (I assume sardonically) suggests we heave ho DavCam out of Number 10 and enter a coalition with equalising Boris instead.
Bright Green Scotland take us ‘Behind the Smokescreen’ on student fees.
Scotland for the Senses has a splendid piece on Tam o’ Shanter and Alloway’s Brig o’ Doon
Hector MacQueen of Scots Law News turns his learned eye back over the apparently endless criminal cases involving tackle-out enthusiast, Stephen Gough, better known as the Naked Rambler by comparing the unjust punishment meted to out to rambling naturists in Scotland with a recent, very similar case in Switzerland. Adopting another comparative attitude, James Taylor asks What can the Liberal Democrats learn from Apple?
Meanwhile, in the world of fiction, Donna of Badsville reviews the weighty shelf of books she devoured over the month of June. Scots Whay Hae! inaugurates its You Have Been Watching, “a weekly feature looking at the good, bad and ugly (but mainly the good) of Scottish Film past.” This week, Alistair Braidwood discusses Peter Capaldi’s Strictly Sinatra.
And to end with a different sort of fiction, South Lanarkshire’s planning committee is not, I fancy, top of any idle soul’s list of exciting diversions. However, life has suddenly got much more interesting for its Labour convenor (in the Chinese proverbial sense). Joan McAlpine writes about the scandal which seems to be engulfingÂ Councillor Jim Docherty, whose moustache is without question wider than two fish. Rab has a good-going rant about the whiffy associations which are alleged between the Cooncillor and his mate, the property developer (and serial planning permission applicant).
In despatches from the east coast, Hythlodaeus criticises the abundance of hooch-skirling shops whose tat tartanry festoons Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.
Finally, it is worth noting that this week Scottish Labour-supporting bloggers moved from an at risk category to an endangered species, with Yousuf foregoing his yap now that he has graduated from university and is embarking on wage labour in the private sector. After a period of mute abeyance, Ian Hamilton QC too has confirmed that he shan’t be rattling out any more posts. “It takes energy to be a nuisance and I have run my course”, he notes.Â Finally, in a highly-recommended post, Dundee’s Stuart Winton takes the opportunity to discuss whether the macblogosphere in general is tending towards decline.
And thus, good friends, that is very much it for this week’s edition of the Scottish Roundup. Do continue to submit suggestions of spiffing blogs and posts and whatnot to us. What’s more,Â no doubt Duncan will keep us informed about how Roundup 2.0 is shaping up. As ever, feel free to forward your vituperation, complaints or misdirected takeaway orders to firstname.lastname@example.org.