PROJECT APOCALYPSE: HONEY McBEE’S BUZZ ROUND THE MEDIA

TUESDAY 17 MAY: just five more glorious weeks of Armageddon heading our way from Dave, Gideon and their cohorts. Pace Boris and Hitler, serious counter- argument has been thin on the ground; here are this week’s MUST READS from the latest bunch…

First, and most trenchant, John Hulsman in yesterday’s CityAM, drawing on the fall of the elite of classical Athens and Angela Merkel’s inability to think long term and be honest with the German people to explain the rise of populism–this sense that Europe’s dreary elites are not really even trying to solve the devilish problems confronting the continent has seeped into the broader public consciousness”

Charles Moore in Saturday’s Telegraph took a swipe at Governor Carney’s veiled threats. The impartiality of the Bank has been lost, says Moore, and European elites are panicking at the thought of losing their security, but “the more the Carneys, Obamas, Junckers, Clintons, Lagardes, Camerons, Osbornes and Merkels tell me what to do, the more I turn to Shakespeare: “Come the three corners of the world in arms / And we shall shock them.”

Also rans – BoJo in yesterday’s Telegraph, echoing Moore, and Brian Monteith in yesterday’s Scotsman, wondering why the public isn’t just rolling over in the face of so much doom and gloom…

 

IN OUR OWN CABBAGE PATCH…

All’s well at Holyrood save a little matter of the SNP being two seats short of a happy ending and Patrick Harvie’s Greens elevated to power broking.  Tom Peterkin in Scotland on Sunday looked at the ways Mr Harvie can become a thorn in the First Minister’s flesh – and they are indeed many and various.

Further into the paper, Euan McColm was more concerned that Ken Macintosh, our new Presiding Officer, would not be equally prickly. Backed by the SNP – and you have to ask why, says McColm, before answering his own question – Macintosh has already announced his “cautious and pragmatic approach to reform… he did not share an opposition hunger for change.”

So, committee business as usual, when what’s needed is a real shake-up; outgoing holder Tricia Marwick told the Sunday Times [£] it’s impossible under  the present system to hold the government properly to account – “everyone agrees that’s a problem but no-one agrees on a solution… it’s like herding cats.”  And she should know.

Poles apart: Meanwhile debate in the Herald has focused on the ‘Ulsterisation’ of Scotland – the shifting of the political tectonic plates from Labour v. SNP to Independence [if not quite yet republicanism] v. Unionism. Beginning with David Torrance last Monday, the debate moved on to David Leask’s verdict on Wednesday – “daft” – and  Prof Tom Devine in the Sunday Herald calling it a “vacuous term with no grounding in history”.

On the same pages, for good measure, Douglas Dalby looked at the worsening reality that is current Ulster politics and a further warning from Martyn McLaughlin in SoS that the IRA may begin its mainland bombing campaign again as it loses faith in the peace process.  Scary.

Into the space between wandered former FM Henry McLeish in Saturday’s Scotsman.  Quiet desperation best sums up the tone of his plea to Labour to find a middle way [any way at all would be good just now – Ed]

It wisn’ae me:  Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has decided he’s had enough of being the Lockerbie bad guy and instead reveals himself as the fall guy for Blair and Brown’s government.  This weekend the Sunday Times ran an extract from MacAskill’s forthcoming book [£] that tells it like it was. In her interview with MacAskill, the paper’s columnist Gillian Bowditch [£] discovers that he still feels bitter about the flak he took from the very Labour government responsible for Megrahi’s release; he was “a patsy for a deal over which he had no control… there were threats of rape and acid baths to his staff… he wondered if he should amend his will.”  Form an orderly queue at your local bookshop on May 26.

Watch this space: The Named Person is back on the agenda. The confusion it engenders was evident on last week’s Question Time, as both Humza Yousaf and Kezia Dugdale had a go at explaining it to David Dimbleby. Lesley Riddoch in yesterday’s Scotsman made a good fist of sorting it out, but she still thinks the government has a lot to do to convince us before it comes into pan-Scotland being in August…

 

IN WALES …

The hills are alive with the sound of UKIP:  Goings-on in Cardiff’s Senedd this week make Holyrood look like the proverbial vicarage tea party. Grayling Scotland’s Garden Lobby posting set the scene and Jon Craig followed up for Sky News. Labour’s Carwyn Jones, confidently expecting to be First Minister sits close to tears with his head in his hands as Plaid’s Leanne Wood comes as near as she’s ever likely to get to being elected to the post, thanks to UKIP and the Tories.

With June 23 looming large, Paul Hagan on the Slugger O’Toole blog wonders how long the partnership between UKIP (Out) and Plaid (very definitely In) will last.  Matt Mathias in yesterday’s Click on Wales added a touch of humour and is selling tickets for Round 2. Reader, you don’t need to make it up…

 

… AND ACROSS THE POND

Looks as though the Trump One landing regularly at Prestwick might soon become AirForce One. David Waywell in CAPX explains why Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States – “People vote for Trump based not on his policies but his personality. Some people just seem to like the guy”.  One of those people is definitely not our Dave [and the feeling appears mutual], though the Donald’s Brexit support is Remain’s early Christmas present. Another is long-standing Brexiteer Tory MEP Daniel Hannan – scathing in the Washington Examiner

Yet even the Republican National committee Chairman says people don’t care about Trump’s indiscretions, telling Fox News – “I think people look at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and say, ‘Who’s going to bring an earthquake to D.C.?’”   And then, intruding on private grief, the Adam Smith Institute blog takes on Mitt Romney over Trump’s tax returns

 

OTHER INTERESTING STUFF…

Ketill Flatnose woz ere. According to the New Historian, archaeologists have finally decided that Cnoc An Rath on Bute is indeed the site of a Viking Parliament – a “thing” – led by Flatnose before he sought pastures new in Iceland sometime in the 7th – 9th centuries.

Saturday night was Eurovision fest. If you stoically sat through it all [medals will be awarded], you’ll have heard the rumours of anti-Russian jury voting around the winning entry from Ukraine; James Harris of Leeds University posted this interesting background to the 1944 deportation of the Tartars way back in February, now smartly re-posted on The Conversation website to reflect Saturday’s result.

 

AND FINALLY…

Who knew?  Last Saturday was also World Buckfast Day [and you missed it? Shame on you.] The Torquay Herald Express told us nine things we desperately needed to know about the wee drink of choice in West Scotland that renders you dead, but incapable of lying down. We commend to you especially item 4. Only in Scotland…

 

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