ELECTION FEVER YAWNS AGAIN: Honey McBee’s trip round the Media

 

It’s Tuesday 2nd February and already your political cup runneth over: In just three months we’ll be back in the polling station marking our Holyrood Xs. Not forgetting the Senedd and Stormont of course – and all with the parallel frisson of the EU referendum.

Kevin McKenna in Saturday’s Herald  says the SNP’s real dilemma is whether to risk a second indyref. Despite Pete Wishart’s ‘relaxed’ approach  seven days ago, Sturgeon has 100,000plus new members at her back, ready to be disillusioned if it’s not in the manifesto. On the other hand, says McKenna, time may be running out, “The tide that has brought us to the edge of independence may soon be preparing to turn again …. better, perhaps, to have tried meaningfully one more time and soon than to see that opportunity disappear in the smoke of other people’s bigger battles”.

Much has been made of tactical voting in May to stop the SNP surge and to increase the vote for independence – both to defeat the constituency v. list system designed, as we now know, in vain, to prevent one party getting a majority. Go-to expert Professor John Curtice surfaced in yesterday’s National to explain the way it works – again – and the risky implications. James Kelly at SCOT goes POP! who’s been banging on about this for weeks, now feels justified…

Meanwhile, the Scotsman’s Katrine Bussey reports on the first SNP conference for the disabled, addressed by the First Minister in Glasgow at the weekend. Which sounds laudable, but – and forgive us for asking – what happened to mainstream inclusivity?

 

It takes the biscuit: After indyref, it’s the biggest decision Scots will have to make in a lifetime, so it’s heartening to see the Mail on Sunday report that Leave campaigner Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg  is defending the trans-fat in our custard creams from Brussels bureaucrats.  David Cameron please note; negotiate on what really matters to the British people…

Odd how we in Scotland have a sense of déjà vu over some Brexit arguments – remember charges of BBC bias? Lo and behold – here we go again with David Keighley’s full-frontal attack in Conservative Woman on a recent In Business dealing with Norway.  Ian Macwhirter ‘s latest posting stresses the similarities with Indyref, wondering if there are more euro-sceptics like Jim Sillars than the SNP would care to admit. Just why, he asks, are the SNP so keen to hand over Scotland’s sovereignty?

 

They do things differently there:   By now we should know how things went in Iowa yesterday, but if you’re still confused about how America gets there in November, this piece from Rene Lindstadt in The Conversation will help with the concept of a caucus. Or try this from yesterday’s Huffington Post.

For the difference between a caucus and a Primary, and how to get the Trump look with nothing but shredded wheat, look no further than Iain Dey in the Sunday Times [£]. Those who spent energy attempting to ban Trump may well be back-pedalling today, but here, also from Iain Dey  [£] is why we might be just a tad worried…

 

“Aberdeen lived so well, so long”: Dani Garavelli in Scotland on Sunday looked at the decline of the Granite City in the wake of falling oil prices. Dramatic tales are circulating: of sports cars being handed back to showrooms, of private school rolls collapsing, of houses that would once have been snapped up immediately staying on the market for months”. Added to the job losses and the knock-on effect on hotels and restaurants and it’s a grim picture Garavelli paints…

Meanwhile, as the UK and Scottish governments throw money in Aberdeen’s direction, here’s Stephen Walsh in the P&J on plans to expand the airport by 50%.

 

When Natalie met Harry:  If you’ve missed it [where’ve you been?] the Twitter spat between Natalie McGarry MP, late of the SNP parish, and JK [so famous only initials are necessary]hit the serious press over the weekend with Gillian Bowditch in the Sunday Times [£]. Need to catch up on the cat fight? Here’s Martin Williams in Saturday’s Herald and Siraj Datoo on Buzzfeed with all the original tweets [including -WARNING – some fairly unsavoury language].  There’s also an in-depth spat over the spat and a well-kent MSM journalist going on over at SCOT goes POP!  If you can be bothered. Just saying…

 

Thinking Caps on: Think tank Reform Scotland’s latest proposal – with Scottish Green Party, Lib Dem and Tory input – would replace in-work benefits with a Basic Income Guarantee [BIG]. Andrew Whitaker reported in yesterday’s Scotsman that BIG would remove the disincentive to work that traps many on low incomes.

In the paper’s opinion columns, former MSP Brian Monteith approves of the proposal – if only for the party consensus it represents. Frank Field and IDS have both struggled to reform benefits, says Monteith. This latest idea should not be filed away under ‘”too difficult.”

 

A Dog’s Breakfast is implied by constitutional expert Alan Trench in his Devolution Matters blog on the Enterprise Bill currently wending its way through the Commons. It covers a multitude of business and employment sins, so will affect us all, but fails, apparently, to address the differing ways the devolved governments are able to deal with things like public sector pay-offs. Mandarins at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, says Trench, have failed to keep pace with devolution.  It’s complicated, and prizes will be awarded…

And still with Legal Eagles:  Two postings in recent days from Andrew Tickell, AKA blogger Lallands Peat Worrier, on the progress of the private prosecutions being brought against Glasgow bin lorry driver Harry Clarke by two of the bereaved families, rejected by the Lord Advocate and now on their way to the High Court. Interesting, if only for the court of law v. court of public opinion argument…

 

Shades of the Walrus and the Carpenter: Colin McNeill in Saturday’s Herald reported the bizarre [but only perhaps to those of us in the Central Belt] tale of the shifting sands of Vallay in the Outer Hebrides. On another level, it’s local v. central government – not so pretty…

 

Beavering away:  Literally. We can just about understand the need to cull foxes and badgers, and even raptors interfering with grouse and pheasant, but shooting beavers and leaving the young to die of starvation?  Here’s Rob Edwards in the Sunday Herald.

 

And finally:  Catch up with Wogan. Farewell then, Sir Terry, National Treasure, on all yesterday’s front pages courtesy of the Huffington Post UK website.  Best obit – the BBC.  Best cartoon – the Telegraph.

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