Philae_touchdown

Rosetta Makes History

Well done to ESA’s Rosetta team. Their Philae lander has just become the first space probe to touch down on a comet.

(Read more on the Rosetta Blog)

It looks like all of the lander’s systems are functioning well and data is being received. At present, it does not seem to be attached by its harpoons. Let’s hope the little feet can hang on well enough to keep Philae on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Next step is to deploy solar power so that Philae can give us a running commentary of comet conditions all the way into its closest approach to the Sun.

Philae leaves Rosetta on its way to the comet

Free Catalonia

Catalans Vote for Independence

Yesterday, the voters of Catalonia voted by an 80% majority to leave Spain and set up their own nation. The Spanish government has done its utmost to disenfranchise Catalonians and prevent this vote having any legal status. Now they are trying to decide who to put in jail for allowing the referendum to happen.

Spain, wake up. The moral authority is with the Catalans who have sought a peaceful political solution to their differences with the Spanish government. Prosecutions over this will only make Spain a laughing stock amongst the international community. It’s time to start talking to the Catalans about a constitutional convention.

Puir Eck!

Gordon’s Timetable – an update

Just been checking that little list over on the sidebar. Looks like we got our ‘command paper’ last month. This month we await ‘a white paper or equivalent’ committing Westminster to delivering further powers. This is the awaited result of the Smith Commission. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile David Cameron is attending the Northern Future Forum (http://nff2014.government.fi/) in Finland. On the agenda this year we have ” the competitiveness of education systems and the promotion of innovative business activity.” These are devolved issues. So the Westminster prime minister does not represent Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish education or business.

Previously Scottish government representatives have joined the Prime Minister on these fora, but not this year. A poor reflection on the unchanged attitudes at Westminster following the Independence referendum. We are supposed to be better together now. How can we be better together when three of the four partners in project UK wear gags?

Has Mr Cameron decided that we are not a family of nations after all? Is the Scottish government to be frozen out of closer partnership with our Northern European neighbours?
This is a bigger issue than a few rogue tory councillors burning effigies of the First Minister on Wednesday.