Letting the Days Go By

How did we get here? Where are we going? And what are we going to do when we arrive? Not an excerpt from a Talking Heads song, these are in fact the questions that this week’s pick of the Scottish blogs has been wrestling with.  And they are undoubtedly good questions, so join me as I settle down for another wee birl in the editor’s chair at the Roundup. Whee!

We start back in the thirteenth century, as a Scottish Patriots short film takes us through Balliol and Bruce’s fight for the Scottish crown, eventually settled by Edward I of England, which had the entirely predictable result of the victor Balliol being seen as a mere puppet and uncharitably christened a “Toom Tabard” or empty shirt. A useful phrase, which I shall store up for future use.

Sticking with the issue of democratic legitimacy, Kelvin Holdsworth at What’s in Kelvin’s Head is sorely disappointed at the very low turnout in the Glasgow Hillhead by-election, and in particular wonders whether a tally of just 307 Lib Dem votes out of a potential 23,243 signals a need for an entirely new Scottish Liberal party.

Liberal Democrat Voice is also thinking about constitutional issues, suggesting that we need a UK Constitutional Convention rather than a fragmented approach to the future of the UK. Though I suspect that only makes sense if you’re not already convinced that the UK doesn’t have a future…

Wot’s News is thinking about constitutions on a bigger scale, arguing that the UK Government is not doing justice to Europe, while Scottish ministers desperate to get round the relevant tables are being blocked by Westminster civil servants.

Indeed, civil servants are not getting a good press this week, as A Burdz Eye View rails against quangos and mandarins who wilfully thwart government policy. She cites as evidence a recent OSCR decision to allow private schools to keep their charitable status, as well as a Transport Scotland paper on the future of Scotland’s railways.

This same paper has also got James at Better Nation blogging in incredulity at proposals which talk about an efficient, integrated transport system but suggest making passengers change trains more frequently, stopping sleeper services, forcing passengers to stand for longer and putting up prices. Oddly, the mainstream media seemed to miss all of this, focusing only on the possibility that drinking on a train will be banned. While I can understand that you might need a drink to contain your rage as you chug along at three miles an hour on an overpriced train, it seems that Transport Scotland have plenty of far worse proposals.

And that’s it – we’ve covered the past, present and future, and nothing further remains for me to do than to wish all a good night. Or, indeed, good morning. Toodleoo!

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