DEATH BY A THOUSAND CUTS: Honey McBee’s Weekend Bzzz

Tuesday 9 June : “TO GOVERN IS TO CHOOSE”:  David Torrance in yesterday’s Herald on the second reading of the Scotland Bill Mark 3– already doomed to failure, says Torrance, ever-continuing devolution is death by a thousand cuts for the Union. And how will the SNP use any new powers when it has been reluctant to take up existing ones, he wonders.

The cats-in-a-sack approach has apparently been abandoned at Westminster as SNP and Labour both table amendments calling for more powers. Andrew Grice in yesterday’s Independent and Scott Macnab in the Scotsman reported on the proposed changes. Here’s erstwhile ScotBuzz columnist- before his Westminster elevation – George Kerevan in the National [£] on where the Bill falls short of anything promised in the infamous Vow, and Torcuil Crichton in the Record on the need to watch out for ‘sneaky Tories’ pulling a fast one.


CHARLES KENNEDY:  More reflections over the weekend.  Iain Macwhirter in the Sunday Herald – Kennedy was a victim of the political climate, but Scots’ drinking remains a real problem.

If you missed Alastair Campbell’s tribute to his friend, the Scotsman reproduced it last week – and here’s Campbell again in the Sunday Times [£] reflecting on his own and Kennedy’s alcoholism.

Our comment of the week came from Hadley Freeman in the Guardian wondering why the British treat alcoholism as a joke. Recommended reading for us all.

Perhaps the longest-lasting tribute was proposed by Ming Campbell [£] also in the Sunday Times – reform of the procedures and attitudes of the House to make it less adversarial, less yah-boo and more informative – “How about his legacy being recorded not in portrait or sculpture but in a chamber that did more than acknowledge his values but conducted itself in accordance with them?”


AS ANY FULE KEN:  As the First Minister visits a New York School, Scottish education – or lack of it – bubbled to the surface last week. Here’s Mandy Rhodes in Holyrood Magazine on the need to rethink the comprehensive system and stop demonising private schools. Lead balloons spring to mind.

Dani Garavelli in Scotland on Sunday also called for root and branch reform to close the attainment gap.  Kevin McKenna in the Observer focussed on the result of the attainment gap – a class division that prevents working class cream rising to the top universities.


SCOTLAND 1, HUMAN RIGHTS 0: Scotland played Qatar last week at Easter Road and with unusual aplomb, won. Ian Bell in the Sunday Herald thinks the game should never have been played. Where are the Scottish government’s protestations over human rights now, asks Bell.


IT’S NOT CRICKET: literally, in Crieff, as Morrison’s Academy announces it will no longer teach cricket because it’s too technical and too hard. The Academy will continue with rugby [boys only – clearly not too technical, nor too hard] and hockey [girls only – ever been hit by a hockey ball?] Another nail in the sporting coffin.


ONE FOR THE DIARY: The First Minister is to debate with the new Guardian editor–in-chief at the Edinburgh International Television Festival – becoming the first politician to deliver the Alternative MacTaggart lecture. Given the SNP’s view on broadcasting, expect early fireworks…


FORM AN ORDERLY STAMPEDE: Thar’s gold in them there hills, according to Bridget Morris in Saturday’s National [£]. A Canadian on a prospecting course at Wanlockhead, where lead is the usual metal du jour, panned a 20 carat nugget with an estimated value of £10,000. The Museum running the course welcomes ‘responsible panners’. No chance. It’ll be every man for himself when word gets round …


SO, FAREWELL THEN: Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill announced he is to stand down at the Holyrood election next May to pursue a ‘third career’- as yet unspecified. His tenure was not without controversy – notably Megrahi’s release – and he was quietly dropped from Sturgeon’s cabinet. Luke Boddice in the Garden Lobby obliged us with other notables who will not stand again in 2016…


A MONTH ON:  For geeks only. YouGov has conducted a post-election poll of 100,000 people. Who voted what. Telegraph readers voted Tory, Guardian readers voted Labour. Lots of graphics, few surprises.



MoD Reveille: One of the new intake of Tory MPs, former Army captain Johnny Mercer made his maiden speech on the treatment of veterans to acclaim last week. If you missed it, the Telegraph reproduced it, with a link to Hansard and comment from James Kirkup.. Here’s Mercer’s interview with Rosa Prince in the Sunday Telegraph on what he hopes to do now he’s an MP. Become a thorn in the flesh of the MoD, with any luck.

Coming to a Harbour near You:  China’s involvement in the proposed Swansea Bay barrage tidal power scheme was raised in the Commons last week. Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph once again decried the price of the resultant electricity – “a mind-boggling £168 per megawatt hour for electricity, including a subsidy of 240 per cent, even more than that for offshore wind” – and the loss of promised amenities for local communities. It’s an engineering nightmare apparently – and also proves the flapping butterfly wings theory as its effects are felt across the Bristol Channel on the Lizard peninsula.

Luddites and Grandparents Unite: The US online magazine Quartz reported on the uptake of dumb phones – those that only make and receive calls and text. Some 590 million – those of us who would rather not be tweeting and Facebooking and consuming content on their phones all day” have them apparently [including Honey, despite your Editor’s derision]. By 2019, only 350 million will be sold – but as Quartz points out, that’s still an awful lot of phones



Water, Water Everywhere: Or not. Next time you moan about our never-ending rain, ladies, reflect on this article in Quartz. It could be worse…




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