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Unspun: the politics diary

Bullying crackdown

Bullying crackdown

Cybernats! Any thoughts on the SNP's latest schools initiative, divulged on Thursday in a press release with the headline: "Stopping cyber-bullying"? Learning minister Alasdair Allan said: "Online bullying, like all forms of abuse, is utterly unacceptable." Tweet nicely now.

Mind the gender gap

Persuading more women to back independence is a big challenge for the Yes campaign, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon admitted this week. Asked why she felt women were less likely to support independence, she offered the view they were "more pragmatic". Discussing the gender divide is always fraught with difficulty for politicians, as Ms Sturgeon knows. "I'm not saying men aren't pragmatic," she added hurriedly.

It's all Greek to me

MSPs enjoyed the Greek ambassador's visit this week. "I am so happy to be here in the Athens of the North in the nation of Lord Byron," said His Excellency Konstantions Bikas, stressing the way Byron had laid down his life for Greece. And they say Europe won't welcome Scotland.

A novel approach

With enemies like Anne McTaggart who needs friends. The Glasgow Labour MSP asked what action the government was taking to tackle air pollution in Glasgow.

Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse reeled off a list of actions and sums of money spent on projects.

Normally the supplementary contains the real challenge, getting under the minister's skin where, caught off guard, they squirm - unable to answer the killer question.

Ms McTaggart however, merely gave thanks for the detailed response, stated 3000 people die prematurely from pollution and said: "I think the minister has clearly indicated what action the government has taken" and asked no question. A novel approach, unlikely to catch on.

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