From the weekend papers, 14-15 xi 09

The Sunday Herald thinks it’s news that civil servants, ahem, think about policy when a policy document is due for publication.  This follows Friday’s shock horror discovery by the Scotsman that having civil service staff working on a project like the National Conversation costs money (though, it should be noted, nothing like as much as they imply it does).

Iain McWhirter thinks the Glasgow North East by-election result was a body blow for the SNP and presages a Scottish Labour revival.  McWhirter is hardly alone in seeing the result as a triumph for Labour, though; he’s joined by many others, including Eddie Barnes in Scotland on Sunday and Kevin McKenna in the Observer (though only online and in Scotland).  Tom Gordon, also in the Sunday Herald, says the result was due to a strong Labour campaign and some strategic misjudgements by the SNP, particularly the cancellation of the Glasgow Airport Rail Link.  Given this result was pretty predictable, such glee and certainty about its implications seem rather over the top.

Ian Jack (a Guardian writer who doesn’t confuse ‘national’ with greater London) laments the SNP’s power policy and its preference for ‘clean coal’ – though, like many, he doesn’t realise that the SNP is able to adopt such policies precisely because it doesn’t have to bear the consequences if its choice is wrong.  (See the post ‘Scotland and nuclear power’ for a discussion of this.)

The Welsh Labour leadership campaign rumbles on, as the candidates trade jibes about command of the Welsh language and promises to develop campaigning (though nothing rivals the cattiness of Andrew Davies describing Carwyn Jones as a semi-detached  member of the Cabinet).

And there’s also the campaign to find a successor to Mark Durkan as leader of the SDLP in Northern Ireland.

The Grauniad also had a nice piece about cities by the wonderful Jan Morris, including the lines

If I certainly love London less nowadays, I actually like it more! …  It is no longer England, to my mind, but instead it is a marvellously invigorating sort of Dystopia.

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Filed under Labour, Media issues, Northern Ireland, Reading notes, Referendums, Scotland, Wales

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