TUESDAY 22 JUNE: a week when the land of the free and the home of the brave endured yet another nutcase on the loose with a gun. Who knew the Confederate cause was still alive and well in South Carolina and elsewhere in the South? [Hate Memorialised – yesterday’s Telegraph letters page]. Here’s the unmissable Jon Stewart on the Daily Show, courtesy of the Guardian and here’s the President tweeting about America’s ‘shameful’ gun killings. Outrageously, we learnt from prominent US race relations writer Ta-Nehisi Coates that General Lee’s War of Northern Aggression flag – a rallying point for white supremacists – apparently still flies in the grounds of the state capital’s legislature. Take it down.
ASK NOT FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS…
Where did it all go wrong? The BBC and party grandees raked over Labour ashes. Does anyone care? Not according to Ian Bell in Saturday’s Herald. The chances of Scottish Labour rising from May’s debacle are zilch, says Bell, even if the media have yet to realise it. Helpful links to Lallands Peat Worrier’s view on party autonomy – that Scottish Labour cannot break away from the UK party and still remain Unionist – and Tom Harris in LabourHame. Time to grow up, says former MP Harris, “the SNP accuse Labour of letting Scotland down and Labour accuses the SNP of screwing up NHS waiting lists and exam results, and everyone accuses the Tories of being generally evil and uncaring…It’s all a little tiresome. And dishonest.”
Even contender Kezia Dugdale thinks it’s going to get worse before it gets better, according to Tom Gordon in the Sunday Herald. And you wouldn’t think so, but there’s someone else standing; alas, poor Ken Macintosh seems already the media’s also-ran. He set out his stall in Scotland on Sunday.
More trouble yesterday when Blair’s sidekick Lord Falconer revealed yesterday that both of them now believed the Iraq war had been a mistake and according to Iain Martin in CAPX, there’s mischief afoot up the Tory back lanes.
Last word on Labour’s plight [we promise] goes to poll supremo Prof. John Curtice in a paper for the IPPR. Lots of graphics and demographics – in the end, Curtice, concluded, it was a matter of economic competence – or lack of – wot did it.
TALKING THE TALK…
One of our editor’s favourite pastimes is buzzword bingo. Sustainable is a favourite, being attachable to almost anything governmental, closely followed by social justice and social democracy. Kevin McKenna in the Observer gets this week’s Scot-Buzz chequebook and pen for his thoughts on the latest SNP initiative, asking us hoi polloi how to make Scotland fairer and more equal – “rather than getting her ministers to jolly around the country putting up chocolate wallpaper”, says McKenna, “Nicola Sturgeon ought instead to be locking them in an upper room of Bute House and telling them not to come out until they have come up with answers why the poverty gap is getting bigger in an affluent country. Blaming it all on Westminster will not be considered a viable response”. A memorable read, even if you disagree.
David Torrance in yesterday’s Herald thought the whole thing ‘staggeringly unambitious’. The rhetoric, Torrance says, parts company with the reality. Communities can only do so much. What’s lacking is political will. Some BTL comments quite interesting.
Lesley Riddoch in yesterday’s Scotsman wondered if the whole north of England has enough sense of cohesion for greater devolved powers. It isn’t a nation like Scotland, and yet…
As Greg Braiden reports in the Herald, Edinburgh and Glasgow may well lag behind our northern neighbours
If you missed it, Auslan Cramb in Friday’s Telegraph had a blow-by-blow account of the JK Rowling anti-English twitter row, in which the world and his wife felt compelled to voice an opinion. Herald columnist Iain Macwhirter was one of the participants – here’s his view of Rowling’s accusations.
In the interests of balance – or maybe not – we’re not sure what to make of this website – the result of some serendipitous trawling
AS ANY FULE CLEARLY DON’T KNO
Richard Ford in the Times reported that the Lord Chancellor, Michael Gove, has issued his civil servants helpful hints on their writing styles [£] – reminiscent of the ‘10 Golden Rules’ he offered the Department of Education in 2013. Pedantic or necessary? Discuss.
ENOUGH POLITICS – TAKE A BREAK
Sheep may safely graze: This is awesome. Google Sheep View. Feel the love…
And for those of you who usually occupy your break watching funny felines on You Tube [you know who you are], feel guilty no more. Jessica Myrick of Indiana University has been doing some serious research about you, and millions like you, and thinks cat videos are a great little psychological pick-me-up, another emotional high. Go on, indulge yourself.
BEST OF THE REST…
Science imitates nature: An owl after a mouse is almost silent in flight. Emily Gosden in yesterday’s Telegraph explained how copying the structure of an owl’s wings could cut wind turbine noise by up to 10 decibels without affecting performance. Next stop, jumbo jets over Heathrow.
It’s a rich man’s world: Gillian Bowditch talked to Sir Ian Wood in the Sunday Times’ News Review [£]. Aberdeen’s oil billionaire and philanthropist has signed up to the Giving Pledge – the mega-rich [think Warren Buffet and Bill Gates] agreeing to donate half their wealth to charity… Needn’t worry the rest of us.
Sinister Roos: Store this away for your next pub quiz. We can’t think when else you’d ever need to know, but most kangaroos are left –handed. Or pawed. Whatever. Original Russian research, which only goes to prove how long and dark the nights must be west of the Urals. And if you’re one of the 10% of humans who’s also sinister, or you try to live with one, this Smithsonian.com video is for you. You’re not alone out there. But your brain is.
Another for down the pub: Frederico Luzzi of Aberdeen University stuck his head above the parapet and suggested women should be allowed to play in competitive men’s football. To prevent, he argues, is to discriminate. Brave man.
Caffeine Junkies: this one’s for you. All you ever wanted to know, and a little bit more, on world production of the precious Arabica and Robusta beans from the US Department of Agriculture.
C’Mon Andy: Almost time for strawberries on Murray Mound. Before the greatest living Scot raised the Cup at Queens yesterday, Aidan Smith in Saturday’s Scotsman had a double page curtain raiser spread on Mum Judy. And here, courtesy of yesterday’s Daily Mail, are Team Murray – all those who keep the golden boy on the move…
AND BEFORE YOU GO
Enjoy this astonishing Parisian flashmob, courtesy of our Portuguese correspondent. Carmen will never be the same again. It’ll lift your day…