The personal is the political

The dreadful and tragic Philpott case has attracted much comment this week, both on the sickening details of the case itself and on the readiness of certain politicians to exploit it to suit their own agendas.  Caron Lindsay points out that perhaps a fault line has opened up between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives on this topic, while Michael Kelly lays into George Osborne with both barrels:

“As ghastly as Philpott’s case has been, it is virtually unprecedented. It is so unusual that it cannot provide a safe foundation for the making of any policy of general application; yet George Osborne … has already used the fact that Philpott was supported by benefits as a stick with which to beat the welfare state.” 

Calton Hill, meanwhile, focuses on the broader issues of long-term unemployment and asks if, by allowing a dependency culture to thrive, we might be colluding in a subtle form of child abuse:

“We know that there is now a problem with generational unemployment – no wonder when kids see their parents doing well without having to go out to work. Such children may be well-looked after and well-behaved but they are learning to be dependent on welfare, not on their own efforts.  Is that not a subtle form of child abuse, colluded in by the nanny state?”

As usual, the Scottish blogosphere reflects a wide range of views and topics across the worlds of art, sport, culture and politics. It is always refreshing to read a personal take on the big (and not-so-big) issues and a well-written blog will sometime offer a fresher and more insightful perspective than a lot of mainstream journalism.

Rynhill has a fascinating and poignant piece on the procedures that her family is having to go through in order to be cleared to adopt a child, while Lallands Peat Worrier has a robust take on the campaign by Rape Crisis Scotland to have the verdict of not proven removed from Scots law.  The argument for removing the so-called ‘bastard verdict’ seems to be premised on the notion that, without it, juries will apply themselves more seriously to the issues of guilt or innocence than they do at present.

With a lot of statistical evidence to back up the argument, the blog asks: “Isn’t it much, much more likely that an undecided jury, unable to find the charge proven beyond reasonable doubt at present, will continue to vote to acquit whether or not they have one or two acquittal verdicts available to them?”

As the heat gets turned up in the referendum campaign, we’re likely to see more posts like this one by Moridura, in which he makes an impassioned plea for an independent Scotland to make a declaration of unilateral nuclear disarmament.  Minguin’s Republic takes a similar line and provides further links to other posts which may not exactly explore the nuances of the independence debate, but at least state a clear position.  A different approach is taken by Love and Garbage, who –with tongue firmly in cheek- launches the London Snow Appeal in response to the difficulties faced by Londoners during the recent spell of bad weather.

Todayoutof10 has some interesting observations on how to achieve happiness, which may –or may not- involve chatting up a David Bowie impersonator, while Scots Whay Hae provides a valuable public service by reviewing several films about the Loch Ness Monster.  The public service message appears to be: stay away from these films.

In the age of downloads, a belief has grown up among certain sections of the population that all music should be free. With fewer sources of income, the ‘house concert’ scene has been a godsend to working musicians, eliminating a lot of unnecessary costs.  The Pop Cop offers a fascinating piece on the difficulty of providing house concerts in Edinburgh.

Douglas Robertson, along with his partner Jane-Ann Purdy, have been hosting private concerts in their sitting room for the past decade, with as many as 80 audience members squeezing into their house in Holyrood Park. Following a single complaint from a nearby resident, Edinburgh City Council’s Planning Service contacted Douglas to demand that the concerts stopped. He was invited to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness (at a cost of £319), which he did; unfortunately, it was rejected by the Council’s Planning Department in March, a fact that The Pop Cop contrasts with the Council’s willingness to license a sex sauna a few miles up the road.

On a happier note, my chum Neil Wilson at Scottish Fiction podcasts a live acoustic set from the up-and-coming singer Siobhan Wilson and, if I may chip in my own tuppenceworth, I’ve posted a song on the ever-topical theme of slippery and sinister politicians.

This is my first time editing the round-up and I hope I’ve managed to catch something of the general flavour of what is going on in the diverse and vibrant world of Scottish blogging.

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