HONEY McBEE’S BUZZ ROUND THE MEDIA: A BAKE-OFF FREE ZONE…

TWO YEARS AND COUNTING:  The flags were out in Glasgow over the weekend; Indyref2 isn’t going away. Jonathan Shafi in Bella Caledonia is already rallying the faithful, the First Minister told Tom Gordon in the Sunday Herald that independence was top priority over Brexit, oil [lack of] and the economy, and Alex Salmond is back-seat driving with predictions in Scotland on Sunday of a 2018 vote – don’t wait for the polls!

Softly, softly urges Willie Maley of Glasgow University – learn the lesson of Ireland’s Easter RisingIreland’s independence story suggests that doing things quickly”, he says in yesterdays’ Conversation, “whatever the passions of the present, is never wise”.

‘Senior SNP figures’, according to Michael Settle in yesterday’s Herald, are also urging caution. A few pages on, David Torrance is talking of ‘fudge and confusion’. Even Alistair Darling thinks it won’t happen – losing would finish her, he told GMS, but “what she has got to do, of course, is to continually throw red meat to her supporters”. Hold that picture in your mind’s eye.

NEXT TIME ROUND: Advice this week to unionists from Phil ‘Fireworks’ Anderton [remember those glorious whizz-bangs at Murrayfield when he was i/c marketing?] who told Jason Allardyce in the Sunday Times[£] that winning needed a “modern, neuroscience approach [that]would better get to the decision-making, unconscious, emotionally driven parts of the brain, to understand what is most important to voters…”Mr Anderton has a book to promote, natch.

On the same page, literally, Mark Macaskill reported on the Scotland in Union curtain-raiser auction at the Prestonfields to augment the war-chest, where the great and the good bid for luxury chalet holidays in the Swiss Alps [£6,000 guide price], a game reserve in Botswana [£12,500] or – coming down in the world – sailing off the west coast at a mere £5,000. That should do nicely…

On Andrew Marr’s independence programme on Sunday former Scottish Secretary Michael Forsyth railed at Better Together – and in particular George Osborne’s project fear – last time round. He could have made a better fist of it, he thought. Quite.

Meanwhile, also emerging from the woodwork, ex-MP Tom Harris proposes Ruth Davidson should be the next holder of the union’s poisoned chalice. Labour’s role is solely to light the blue touch paper and retire smartly it seems…

 

BRIEFLY…

STOCKBRIDGE – LOOK AWAY NOW:  Scotland on Sunday’s Martin McLaughlin gave us a foretaste of tonight’s documentary [BBC2 9.00pm] claiming that Edinburgh’s New Town was but an early attempt at social cleansing. Kept the well-to-do away from the oiks in the Old Town. Should be fun.

AN ILL WIND: Gillian Bowditch in the Sunday Times reminded us how the BCCI collapse of 1991 almost took Comhairle nan Eilean Siar with it. A new film, mostly about the bank’s drug-running and money laundering admittedly, gives the Western Isles’ investment saga a walk-on part.  Bowditch recounts how the Council was rescued by the UK government, and the islands’ economy has never looked back…

MALCOLM TUCKER LIVES:  Missed last Thursday’s Question Time? You really shouldn’t have. Sam Coleman in the Huffington Post ran through the predictably venomous match when Alastair Campbell met John McDonnell, with Anna Soubry sitting meekly in between.  Here’s a link to the entire programme, if you’ve the strength.

CLINGING TO THE WRECKAGE:  Osborne reborn! You might have thought a period of silence might be welcome after the former Chancellor’s fall from grace. Think again. Last week, as Heather Stewart reported in Friday’s Guardian, he surfaced as Chairman of the Northern Powerhouse. It’ll give him something to do when his Tatton constituency disappears in the boundary review proposals.

 

OTHER QI STUFF WE FOUND…

IF YOU READ NOTHING ELSE:  Neil Oliver’s cameo pieces in the Sunday Times are becoming a weekly joy; amusing, yet sharply to the point. This week he asks why it’s OK to have a go at Christianity in a way we wouldn’t dare attack other faiths…

JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE PARANOID:  A cautionary tale from last week’s Spiked about the community of Oakland on San Francisco bay; it’s what happens when those in charge have little grasp of what exactly they’re getting into and how citizens can fight Big Brother.

FAITH, HOPE AND THE CLINTONS:  Still across the pond, in Friday’s Reaction Brian Mittendorf defended the Clinton Foundation and its satellite charities against current criticism. It’s a complex set-up, but Mittendorf concludes that on the whole it works like any other charity, and it does good in the world.

‘NEITHER USELESS NOR IMMORAL’:  so says Czechoslovakian-born Marian Tupy of capitalists. It’s an interesting exposition of socialist economics versus the free market, Mercedes versus Trabant, based on his experience of life under communism. Long, but rewarding. In Friday’s CAPX. Where else?

On the same lines, in ConservativeHome MEP [pro-tem] Daniel Hannan used the not-so-humble [it turns out] chicken sandwich as an example of the wonders of human civilisation. He too, means capitalism. In both cases the BTL comments are quite instructive as well…

 

 AND FINALLY…

OH, JOY:  This is for those of us of a certain age. The publishers who tried to modernise Enid Blyton’s Famous Five have had to admit it was a huge mistake and are reverting to the original. Tammy Hughes reported gleefully in Saturday’s Daily Wail that dresses will go back to being frocks, rain hats to sou’westers [remember them?] and there’ll still be lashings of ginger beer. Not to mention the original illustrations.

There’s icing on the cake, too. Winnie the Pooh is 90 this year – and there’s a brand new adventure to celebrate with a penguin joining Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore. Clarisse Loughrey in the Independent reported on the authorised sequel due out next month, just in time for Christmas. Grandparents, form an orderly queue…

 

 

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