HONEY McBEE’s BUZZ ROUND THE MEDIA: AN ARCHERS-FREE ZONE…

…INSTEAD, INTRUSION ON PRIVATE GRIEF of a different kind this week, as the Labour leadership battle hots up. And no, we don’t mean Corbyn v. Smith, but Dugdale v. the Donors, as reported by Paul Hutcheon in the Sunday Herald.  The money’s drying up, says Hutcheon, and with it Kezia’s chances of remaining leader much longer. Next year’s local elections look to be the final straw says Tom Gordon, also in the Herald and to prove that if anything can be made worse, it will be, Terminator Galloway threatens Scotland “I’ll be back”. [BTW, Rod Liddle’s review of Galloway’s film on Tony Blair on his Spectator blog is a belter – Ed]

Of course, Jeremy Corbyn, bless him, is an easy target right now, and Euan McColm scores a – we must admit – amusing bull’s eye in Scotland on Sunday, with his take on the UB40 press conference.

“The wide-eyed Corbynistas of today are the pub bores of tomorrow. When their man leads Labour to inglorious defeat … they will not question Corbyn’s actions. They will sit at the bar and say that the establishment had it in for them from the start”.

John Boothman in the Sunday Times[£] reported the possibility that Scotland may once again vote against the grain and go for Owen Smith. The left has not flocked to Corbyn in Scotland, says Boothman. Indeed, most of the left has already decamped to the SNP, leaving a centre right rump to favour Owen.

If there is indeed a split in the offing, it won’t be the first time. Alan Cochrane [yes, the late, oft lamented Scottish editor of the Telegraph] surfaced last week in Iain Martin’s new website Reaction to remind us – or inform, if you’re under thirty-five – of the 1981 emergence of the SDP’s Gang of Four. And of course, the part he had played in it…

Just for fun, in case you missed it, here’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily ‘White Van Man’ Thornberry taking the art of bluster to new heights on Sky News yesterday. Be honest, you didn’t know the name of the French Foreign Secretary either, did you?

 

FOLLOW THE MONEY. Two views on the SNP’s direction of travel for the Scottish economy this week. First, from ex-Labour Cabinet minister Brian Wilson in the Scottish Review on the Council of Economic Advisers, and in particular Prof. Joseph Stigiltz – member of more round-the-world councils and commissions than even Sturgeon’s Scotland can spawn”.  Mr Wilson is not impressed with the Nobel Laureate’s many credentials, and even less with his recent volte-face on an independent currency.

Second, from pro-indy Robin McAlpine in Common Space on the appointment of former SNP MP Andrew Wilson to lead the Scottish Growth Commission. Too much secretive lobbying, thinks McAlpine, the public and the membership deserve better. And it’s now official – a campaign to have Wilson removed in the interests of transparency began yesterday.

Still with the economy, James Maxwell in the Sunday Herald reported the views of various experts that if an independent Scotland thinks it can pick up the remnants of London’s post-Brexit financial lemmings, it should think again. Big mistake says Prof. David Bell of Stirling Uni. Imagine the possible bail-out costs Scotland might be liable for…

 

BRAINWASHING WITH BISCUITS.  Alec Fullerton in last week’s Spiked took Food Standards Scotland to task over its latest TV ads – “so creepy that, after just 24 hours, FSS pulled one from circulation and issued an apology on its Facebook page”. If you’ve missed them, Fullerton’s piece includes the offending ads – you can decide whether they’re an unwarranted interference in parental responsibility – or is it true that, as one BTL commenter opined the Scottish seem to accept, or even welcome, a far greater level of state involvement in their lives than the English would ever do. In this respect, they do seem to be more like the Scandinavians across the North Sea”.

 

IT WON’T HAPPEN IN SCOTLAND, according to commentator Iain Macwhirter – we do things differently here –  so the stooshie about Theresa May’s grammar schools is England’s debate, but that hasn’t stopped the papers testing us with 11+ papers. Armed with a pencil and a strong cup of coffee, you may begin.  Here’s the one in Saturday’s Guardian, and from the Daily Mail and the Telegraph, which rather bizarrely describes it as a Quiz.

 

KNOCKBACK FOR KNOCKROON. The Duke of Rothesay has discovered that what works in the leafy lanes of affluent Dorset was never destined for success in East Ayrshire. Martyn McLaughlin in Scotland on Sunday took a long, hard look at the model development near Cumnock. Of the 700 houses planned, only 31 have been built and only half of them are owner-occupied. And then there are apparent planning irregularities under investigation as McLaughlin reports in a follow-up piece for yesterday’s Scotsman.

Also in yesterday’s edition, Lesley Riddoch pointed out that developments like Knockroon are not what Scotland needs. Compulsory Sale Orders, forcing sale of derelict land to third parties for small, affordable developments near existing communities are her answer, but dilatory councils, she says, are part of the problem.

In lighter vein it appears that some of the royal choices for street names for Knockroon didn’t hit the spot either. According to McLaughlin, locals decided anything with green in it was dodgy, given the area where even Subway is painted another colour; literary allusions – Buchan and Scott – got the thumbs down, as did Wandering Willie’s Wynd. Imagine the conversation with that call centre in Manila…

 

IN BRIEF

THE LONG GRASS BECKONS.  It’s where, according to Kevin McKenna in Saturday’s Herald, NHS task forces created by the Scottish government have been kicked, never to be seen again. Much talk, nothing achieved is his verdict…

YET AGAIN, planning decisions of Edinburgh Council are called into question. It’s where the citizenry meets the immovable object. The development threat to Carnegie-endowed land next to the Central Library was outlined this weekend by Peter Burnett in Bella Caledonia.

COME-UPPANCE arrived this week for the Rev. Stu Campbell as Twitter suspended the account of pro-indy website Wings over Scotland.  Supporters will be downcast; others will cheer a welcome period of cybernat silence. Jamie Ross of Buzzfeed obliged with this particular piece of scuttle buck.

 

THE QI STUFF…

SUNDAY WAS THE FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY of the downing of New York’s twin towers.  Photographer Suzanne Plunkett relived her experience in the Observer. She recalls taking one of the first shots that went round the world. It changed her life. Lest we forget, David Pratt in the Sunday Herald also reminded us how the effects of that day are still being felt around the world…

WE’RE NOT HOLDING OUR BREATH through the rain here in the Trossachs, but in Thursday’s Conversation Prof. Philip James of Salford University predicted that 2016 will be one of the best ever years for autumn colours. He revealed [here comes the science bit] that tree leaves have four elements – it’s chlorophyll that makes them green, but as it breaks down, the other elements take over. Enjoy it while you can though, the prof warns that climate change is shortening the window of opportunity for great displays.

MOLE, RAT and BADGER BEWARE. Last week, the Lake District, this week Winter Hill on the banks of the Thames – it’s where Kenneth Grahame was inspired to write The Wind in the Willows.  Patrick Sawyer and Christopher Hope in the Sunday Telegraph reported on the dispute between the local residents and, yes, the National Trust again. The Trust wants to fell trees on the hill’s slopes; residents say it’s ‘arrogant behaviour’ in a conservation area. Mr Toad would give the Trust a definite poop, poop…

THERE ARE ONLY SO MANY MURRRDERS the islands can take without de-populating the entire archipelago. So says Ann Cleeves, creator of the Shetland novels, and the even more popular TV series. According to Mary O’Connor in the Sunday Times [£] the eighth novel is due next month. The ninth will be the last. Catch it while you can…

 

AND FINALLY

DEER, OH DEER. From across the pond, Sunday’s Quartz Daily reported that the British are eating venison faster than Scotland, which produces two-thirds of the meat consumed in the UK, can get it onto their plates. More deer farms are needed, and farming subsidies – or we’ll lose out to imports from New Zealand, Poland and Spain.

Should any nascent deer farmers be interested, our garden-loving Editor will happily start them off with three rose and hosta-eating, wind-chime defying, bambis he would love to see on anyone’s plate…

 

 

 

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