BUDDY, CAN YOU SPARE £3: Honey McBee’s Media Bzzz

Tuesday 16 June: SO, FAREWELL THEN…

Jim Murphy parted company with his political career on Saturday, but not without taking another swipe at Johann Lamont and Len McCluskey. And not, as Paul Hutcheon reported in the Sunday Herald, without considerable success at pushing through reforms.  1990s OMOV has become 21st century OPOV [work it out] and you too can take part in the leadership if you’ve £3 to spare and register as a supporter.  Labour councillors can now stand for high office, and Glasgow leader Gordon Matheson has already thrown his hat into the deputy leader’s ring.

Meanwhile there’s a subtext raging over the wisdom of Scottish Labour divorcing from the London party. Former MP Tom Harris thinks it ‘absurd’, MSP Alex Rowley thinks it essential.  Light the blue touch paper…

 

BEHIND NET CURTAINS.

A rather wry look back at the rise and rise of the SNP from Kenneth Roy in this month’s Scottish Review.  The occasional fickleness of the Scottish electorate re-asserted itself in May.  But while one side triumphed spectacularly, we should not forget the other “stubborn two thirds of the electorate. No-one knows who these strange people are… rarely interviewed on the BBC… they fail to blog or tweet. They make no noise, no fuss, of any kind. They are pretty well invisible. It is possible that they order the groceries online and never leave the house, except occasionally to thwart the ultimate ambition of the ruling party”.  And it may take more than a second referendum to wear them down, concludes Roy.

Meanwhile, David Torrance in yesterday’s Herald, in the process of updating his biography of Alex Salmond, pondered deeply on the pros and cons of the internal gradualist v. fundamentalist go-for-it argument within the SNP.  Let’s hope Sturgeon can walk the tightrope as well as she balances on the gym bar…

 

HOWLING AT THE MOON…

This week’s ScotBuzz chequebook and pen goes to a forthright condemnation of cybernats from Gillian Bowditch in the Sunday Times [£]. In particular their pre-election abuse of Charles Kennedy [for which one has now rightly been suspended from the party]. “Eventually”, says Bowditch, “Sturgeon will have to face up to what is being done in her party’s name. Kennedy’s death and the overwhelming public response to it suggests that now would be as fitting a time to clean up the anonymous abusive campaigns.”   There are, of course, two sides in this, as Tom Gordon reported in the Sunday Herald…

And just in case you’ve been on Mars, here’s David Starkey in the Sunday Times [£] – “Katie Hopkins with a PhD” (thanks, i100) – on the SNP, Hitler, the Saltire and Lederhosen. Not necessarily in that order.

 

YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE…

And so now does HMRC.  Our fate has been sealed in this 19-page technical guidance paper.  From April 2016, if you live in Scotland, even if you don’t work in Scotland or work for a non-Scottish company, you’ll be paying Scottish income tax. At whatever rate, courtesy of John Swinney, that might be. Conversely, if you live in England, even if you work in Scotland for a Scottish company, you’ll pay the UK rate. Expect games of musical houses around the Tweed over the next few months…

And still on the subject of finance, ScotBuzz columnist, now MP, George Kerevan explained in yesterday’s National what he had actually written, after the PM quoted him as saying full fiscal autonomy would be ‘economic suicide’.

 

WHAT IF?

An interesting view on EU/ Brexit over the weekend; James Kelly on Scot goes POP wonders what might happen if the Out/No campaign in Scotland is run separately from England and Wales – and on a platform that says it would actually strengthen Holyrood to leave…

Still with Europe, Janet Daley in the Sunday Telegraph thinks it a pity that the referendum  ‘pantomime’ is getting in the way of what Cameron should be doing – getting on with much-needed domestic reforms while the opposition is still in disarray. Though it appears Scotland is not, for Daley, one of these pressing issues.

 

A LOT OF HOT AIR?

We’ve mentioned this before, but this weekend’s Sunday Herald picked up again on the on-going row in the Borders over a 140-turbine windfarm application from Buccleuch Estates – was a back door deal done with the Scottish government? Was it just for ‘help and support’, or was pressure applied?  Understandably, there’s a lot of local concern.

Meanwhile in the same edition, Mark Latham looked at the effect the UK government’s decision to curtail subsidies on onshore wind energy will have on Scotland. If the plug is pulled overnight, a number of applications, says Latham, both on-going and in the pipeline may be scuppered, and with them the Scottish government’s renewable targets. A lengthy but readable article – with the added bonus of an explanation of the unfathomable – for most of us – ROC system.

 

IT AIN’T BROKE, BUT FIX IT ANYWAY

Two Scottish institutions in trouble. Former Labour minister Brian Wilson in Saturday’s Scotsman on the latest round of route tendering  that puts Calmac at risk of losing its west coast franchise and Ian Bell in Saturday’s Herald on why amalgamation of Scotland’s police forces isn’t working.

 

BEST OF THE REST

Left hand, right hand: Last week we brought you Sunday Telegraph columnist Christopher Booker at war on the Swansea tidal lagoon. This week – the update.  New DECC secretary Amber Rudd has already given the scheme the go-ahead when her cabinet colleague, Greg Clark threw a spanner in the works by declaring illegal Cornwall Council’s ‘rushed’ decision allowing the barrier developer to take stone from a disused quarry on the Lizard. As we.ve said before, watch this space.

Mon Dieu. Such perfidy:  France is not happy. She has been defeated again at Waterloo – this time by plucky little Belgium, whose issue of a €2 euro coin to commemorate the battle was thwarted when France objected.  Undaunted, the Belgians have evoked a little-used rule that allows the issue of non-standard coinage, and thus we have the €2.50 coin. The fact that it can only be spent in Belgium is neither here nor there. Tuesday’s New York Times has more…

Sweet home Alabama: If an airline’s ever lost your luggage, there’s a good chance it’s ended up in the Deep South. Marc Bain in Quartz explains why.  The Unclaimed Baggage Centre in Scottsboro, Alabama buys your Samsonites from airlines before recycling or selling on the contents – everything from wedding dresses to kilts. There’s a great incentive not to pack your used underwear on the return journey!

This one’s especially for you: The latest edition of Bloomberg Business was given over to Paul Ford’s 38,000-word essay, The Man in the Taupe Blazer – how he’s able to run rings round top management because he understands computer code, and they don’t. So sit down with a cup of coffee or something stronger, enjoy the graphics and learn how…

 

AND FINALLY

If you read nothing else… Tuesday’s Guardian carried a remarkable interactive account by Patrick Kingsley of the ‘odyssey’ of Syrian refugee Hashem Alsouki, first with his family to Egypt, and then with the Mediterranean boat people to Italy and onwards to his ultimate goal of Sweden.  Whatever the politics, this is real human ingenuity and spirit…

 

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