garyr_h I agree with you about the SERPs. A lot of scrapped content and worthless affiliate blogs are ranking for medium to high-end keywords with junk populating the top spots. What I am seeing is inferior websites ranking well. For instance some of the English language usage on those sites just plain sucks and could be spun content!
I really think this might be a shake-up (or shake-down). As I stated in my previous post on page 1 of this "continuation" thread I believe this may be something to do with the over-optimization penalty Matt Cutts referred to.
Look at the top results for your keywords. Review their backlink profile in Open Site Explorer and I think you may find they are very heavy on spam blog comments.
I don't understand why no-one thinks this is an important enough point to take 5 minutes to check it out!