Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wall Footage 2 RMP logo tracking test

Dear All

I have always been a film buff, when I was a kid, I was glue to the Tv set watching movies, I used to wonder how they did the special effects in movies, today the effects you see are literally mind blowing.

This is test material which I have done as I have been learning tracking so I can place objects or pictures into live action footage and then colour correct them to blend in so they look part of the scene.

The test material here is putting, the logo of the Royal Military Police onto a wall so that it looks part of the scene as the actor does her thing.


I am learning motion graphics because it is going to be the next big thing in political campaigning beyond the photoshop memes and video gifs.

Not bad for someone who has had no formal training?

Finally, I would love to work on a Ridley Scott film, and I am available.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, July 24, 2017

Don’t stick all your eggs in one basket, if you drop it you will be rather unhappy, frustrated Ruth Davidson challenges May Government to lead or lose, the problem with shouting the odds is that it can all turn bad, Scottish Conservatives did well 2017 because they got ‘votes on loan’, they aren’t standing on bedrock by any means

Dear All

If you have learned anything about politics over the last few years, you will know one thing about what is happening in Scotland; everything is up in the air. You can take nothing for granted and huge success can turn easily into epic disaster. 2015, the SNP using the tidal wave of indyref took 56 seats at Westminster, it was a reaction to defeat, no sooner had the SNP settled into the Commons, they started making an arse of themselves, which translated in 2017 into losing 21 seats.

The public is fickle.

2015 vote for the SNP was an emotional vote, after all how can you explain massive voter drops like 9,000 etc in seats, you could be tempted to say that the opposition had ran a great campaign but in the main that wouldn’t be accurate as luck certainly played a part, and also the weather.

It is said that Ruth Davidson is leading a Scottish Conservative power surge at Westminster. Firstly, she isn’t an MP so isn’t leading anything, she doesn’t have a vote, it is true she can claim credit for the wins, but, the public is fickle. The Scottish Conservatives were given an opportunity, an opportunity by Unionist voters who traditionally voted for other parties.

Those votes are on loan.

If she thinks that Theresa May needs to start winning the battle of ideas, then it seems to me at least that if there is a battle, there by definition needs to be troops.

Ruth Davidson has 13 troops, two of whom, I helped get into Westminster in a relatively minor way, Paul Masterton and Bill Grant. So, Theresa May made a mistake, but the mistake wasn’t just down to her, it was a team effort down the road, with the Conservatives having a 20 point lead, they thought that they would win a huge majority.

The public is fickle.

If you remember my back posts, I said, I didn’t understand the logic of going again, to me it seemed a silly thing to do, why have a fight with someone you don’t have to, and for little gain and much risk.

If, I was Ruth Davidson, I don’t think I would be warning Theresa May's lieutenants that the Prime Minister owes her position in Downing Street to the party's resurgence in Scotland. This makes her a hostage to fortune, because if there is an upset, the entire blame rests at her feet.

And once you nail you colours to the mast, you make a rod for your own back, I have to say her statement of her urging May to "lead or lose" is rather odd, it certainly isn’t what I would be saying either in private or in public. The Scottish Tory leader is arguing that “capitalism needs a reboot”, that might be a trendy thing to say but there are also other issues which do so as well, and they are equally as pressing.

Davidson is said to be keen to use her influence to direct Tory policy towards a more socially liberal approach, a softer, "open Brexit" and policies that address directly the concerns of younger voters. Corbyn managed to get the young vote in large numbers for Labour down south.

If we are talking about a socially liberal approach, then by definition the place to start must be the DWP and how they treat people. As to a softer, "open Brexit", if that in any way detracts from leaving the EU or hanging on to policies like the disaster that is freedom of movement, that will be not acceptable to the British people. A majority voted to leave the EU, to take back control of our laws and to restore social cohesion which has been badly damaged not just in the UK but also in the rest of Europe.

Some times being a leader means you need to stand back and be a team player which is essential and also learn to not shout the odds because sometimes things don’t need to be said.  

This comment should be remembered from a well-placed insider, they said:

“We met Gavin Barwell,[the PM’s Chief of Staff in No 10], and made clear to him that if it wasn’t for the Scottish Conservatives, Theresa May wouldn’t have a majority.”

Technically that is true, it is also true that the Scottish Conservatives wouldn’t have a great result if it wasn’t for the assistance given to them by others and also the failures of Kezia Dugdale’s leadership.

I assume we all know that bunny?

What I find funny is that the group of Scottish Conservative MPs would not seek to bring the Government down and would loyally take the Tory whip because they wanted to see Mrs May continue as PM “at least until the Brexit deal is done”.

Think back to the arrogance of 2015, the SNP thought at that point they were the new establishment, two years later the World had turned, who is to say that after Brexit and if there is a new election the 13 Scottish MPs would get returned again?

Their position isn’t secure by any means.

It is true to say that the public don’t like weak government which is why the SNP under Nicola Sturgeon is doing so badly, so Ruth Davidson saying the May Government "has to actually lead" if it wanted to survive isn’t specific to the Conservatives.

Some time ago, I said that Ruth Davidson has her eyes firmly fixed on Holyrood and was wanting to replace Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister at the 2021 Scottish elections.

At present, this is wishful thinking, if you were to say anything about what the possible outcome of 2021 at this juncture you would have to go with hung parliament, certainly not a win for Ruth Davidson. The Unionist card played well for the Scottish Conservatives but they need an emotional response by voters to get their 13 MPs in the door down the road.

Can the Unionist card be used again in 2021 with success?

As to Ruth Davidson being a potential replacement down the road for the Conservative Party, a sunny day doesn’t make a summer, there is a long way to go before anyone, especially the ‘men in grey suits’ sit down to discuss her future. Apparently, there are senior Conservatives who believe Ruth Davidson is just what the UK party needs to boost its chances of victory at the 2022 General Election. Maybe these senior Conservatives should pay a lot more attention to what happened to the SNP and how success turned so quickly to disaster in about two years.

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, July 21, 2017

Stepping up to the plate, Westminster Government need to get their act together to maintain trust in Brexit, the decision to go was correct but we need to fix the education deficit which has robbed so many of our fellow countrymen and women of a future, it is time to fix the home front

Dear All

You could make a strong case that if the UK Government had done more to control immigration which was breaking down social cohesion in the UK; then perhaps the Brexit vote would have had a different outcome. Clearly some people were focused on the problem of immigration into the UK and the situation in mainland Europe only served to heighten their fears.

If you asked an ordinary reasonable person what kind of immigration would they like to see, you would probably find they are in favour of a points based immigration system where the needs of the country are met. Being part of the EU and the disastrous freedom of movement cause a breakdown, the EU needed to have an internal immigration policy because at 28 member states it had become too big.

Freedom of movement for work in theory seems a good thing; the problem was the lack of will to address the other baggage which came along with it. The use of freedom of movement allowed criminality and other unpleasant anti social issues to thrive.

The rich, famous and trendy lefties all love immigration, come one come all, but they generally don’t live in the areas where immigration has caused problems, places like Govanhill in Glasgow which has been turned into a modern day slum ghetto where people struggling to get out cannot get decent market value for their homes. It is know that the wealthy tend to stay in predominantly exclusive white areas with very little immigration impact.

Their live is idyllic, then they dress down come on the TV in a slum area and preach to the rest of the population and lecture people on not being racist, these type of people believe in an open door policy. Recently George Clooney the actor was banging on about immigrants are welcome, then we find out that he is packing up his wife and kids to retreat being the Atlantic Wall that is America because he doesn’t think it is safe in the UK.

George Clooney is a hypocrite.

Controlling post-Brexit immigration is said to be a struggle for the Government if it continues to rely on "woefully inadequate" information this is according to a House of Lords report.

I don’t see this as a struggle, no one should be able to board a flight or boat or train to another country without a visa allowing them entry. The Government needs to bring in a points based system which is fair, lawful and meets the need of the country. If simple measures are brought in and the asylum scams are ended then social cohesion can be established again over time. No one claiming asylum should be allowed to walk the streets of this country, everyone should be detained without exception. One of the other reasons for the Brexit vote was the abuse of human rights law to circumvent the system by asylum seekers claiming they are children or homosexual, this was seen by some as a way of getting a free ticket into the UK, once in these people would simply disappear.

This type of abuse made many people very angry which is why 17 million plus voted to leave the UK, and of course matters weren’t helped by threats from Angela Merkel and the EU to punish members who didn’t follow their orders.

What many people must be puzzled at is how in this day and age, is how any Government hasn’t put in place a system to monitor how many migrants enter or leave the country each year, or how long they stay. In places like Germany, if you wish to stay, you need to register.

The rules are important because without the rule of law there is chaos, so when opposition politicians or trendy lefties scream about ‘come one, come all’, these people only show their ignorance and stupidity, this is calling virtual signalling, basically that is ‘look at me, I am a good person’.   

I agree with Lord Forsyth of Drumlean when he said:

"The Government must have reliable statistics on migration before it formulates new policy, otherwise it will be making crucial decisions - of vital importance to the country's businesses - in the dark”.

After all this is pretty reasonable, acting on information is much better than having to guesstimate.

One of the reasons for the SNP wanting freedom of movement to continue is that it is part of their doomed bid for independence, they haven’t worked out that no one is going to vote for independence with them in charge. Once that gem sinks in they will realise that are trying to lead people who want nothing to do with them. 2015 was an election based on emotion, 2017 saw a step towards logic, and logic dictates that the SNP aren’t stronger for Scotland, quite the opposite, apparently polling suggests that at the next election, from 35 seats, the SNP could be knocked down to 12 seats.

The joke at present to distract people is the SNP trying to act like they are knowledgeable and has all the answers; they might have answers, but they are answering the wrong questions.

An example, for far too long, the SNP have been running a disastrous education programme, one of the most important things that any civilised country must do is invest in the education of its indigenous people. The SNP cuts to colleges goes well beyond the education market, it impacts business and it also directly impacts people and communities which is why I said that there should be ‘four tier’ Education. Four tier Education is about providing opportunities to people to advance their skills, they get better jobs, they pay more taxes, they are happier and have a future.

Lord Forsyth also mentioned that “the employment of migrant workers could lead to businesses neglecting skills and training for British workers”.

I blogged on this for years and years and years in my back posts!

When need skilled people such as nurses, doctors and dentists etc etc, we can get these people through training up our own people and by immigration, the market which all these people come from is education.

At some stage, there will due to pressure be measures to address the education gulf in this country, on both sides of the border, and to be honest that can’t come soon enough.

Years ago, I said when “people have no future there is no tomorrow”, and it is time that people put pressure on politicians to start to deliver on that concept or risk being put out on the street. Corbyn recognised that ‘free tuition’ is essential to Britain, not as an election gimmick but also as away of righting an injustice.

The Conservatives need to bite the bullet on getting Brexit sorted, a points based immigration system and also making education a priority and preferably free, although as we know, it isn’t, the taxpayer picks up the tab.

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Raking in the cash, the greed wins out as SNP's Westminster leader Blackford coins in £50,000 a year extra from lucrative outside interests; he needs to squirrel away as much money as possible because he has a limited future as an MP, and Nicola Sturgeon won't be in a position to save many of her cult from an anti SNP backlash at the ballot box

Dear All

The Scottish National Party if it is about anything is about self interest and personal wealth. When Angus Robertson lost his seat, many people in Scotland rejoiced as this pompous fool was kicked out by the electorate.

It was good, a night of celebration which also saw Alex Salmond, even more pompous than Robertson get slotted, their agony was even more severe as they both lost to Scottish Conservatives.

The failure for the worse SNP defeat in living memory rests with Scotland’s own ‘Poundland’ Angela Merkel, unpopular Nicola Sturgeon.

As Robertson got slotted there became a vacancy for leader, with a pool of stagnant talent to choose from, Ian Blackford emerged as the person to be the new SNP leader at Westminster.

If you think back to my previous posts, I highlighted the four groups that make up the SNP Cult, rich, muslim, homosexual and sein fein lite, Blackford is out of the rich clique. Having become leader, he hasn’t made an impact, he never will, his position is time sensitive, you see at some point Ian Blackford is going to lose at the ballot box possibly in the next election.

Many SNP MPs hang by a thread, they must know whether there is an election in 5 years or less, they are out the door, especially in Glasgow which saw Anne McLaughlin defeated recently. Some in Glasgow hang by less than a 100 votes, Glasgow East and Glasgow South West being two seats which presumably Scottish Labour will target along with holding Glasgow North East.

Blackford is in my opinion not a full time MP because he has made clear he will not be giving up his lucrative extra-parliamentary financial interests.

My view is that no MP in any party should have secondary paid employment, I think this is one of the major things which is massively wrong with our democracy, it is an outrage. Blackford probably knows that his position isn’t secure by any means, it is undermined by SNP stupidity on indyref 2, so he wants to keep raking in almost £50,000 a year on top of his £75,000 MP’s salary.

You can understand his logic; he knows he will be kicked out so why give up a steady and profitable earner.

Blackford said:

“I have been a hard-working MP and I will continue to be so. I do think there is a benefit from MPs having experience of life. The fact that I have had interests in business are something, which have helped shape my ability to make sure I can deliver as an MP.”

This is nonsense, it is just meaningless prattling, maybe he can expand and explain how his interests in business tied in with the people on benefits or people with other problems such as housing issues?

The fact is wider experience may or may not be useful.

If we look at this statement by him:

“My priority is, firstly, to represent my constituency and, secondly, to represent the SNP here in Westminster as group leader and I work extremely hard to ensure that I deliver on both of those priorities.”

What happens on a day that his outside interests which make him money clash with his SNP duties? Anyone daft enough to think he will endanger his £50,000  a year, it isn’t like his MP salary can be affected by anyone.

The issue of MPs’ outside interests has been a bone of contention for years because it saw many people in most parties basically abuse public trust and the system of democracy.

In 2015, Labour failed to get MPs’ second jobs banned which is why they should make this a commitment in any future manifesto, no more ‘guns for hire’.

Pete Wishart whose job hangs by a mere 21 votes said MPs should have one master, declaring:

“There should be no second jobs, no paid directorships, no outside interests with a financial return.”

I agree with him but I don’t see the political will to enact such a measure.

Maybe if there is a future Labour Government under Corbyn this matter can be looked at again, however if a careerist like Blair clone Owen Smith gets in, nothing will change.

Blackford can make 3,000 a month for eight hours’ work per quarter as Chairman of Golden Charter Trust Ltd, nice work if you can get it eh? He obviously has an eye on the future and his future as an MP is looking bleak.

Yours sincerely  

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Too stupid to know when you have lost the war, Scotland’s supposed political and academic elite make fresh call to halt Brexit, the loathing of respecting the result just drips off a letter to the press, there is no going back on ‘direct democracy’, the people have spoken

Dear All

How valuable is your opinion?

To you, it is pretty important, but to others, it is less so, have you noticed that there is a tendency in our society that certain people’s opinions seem to be valued more than others, as their status gives them some kind of alleged special insight.

If you are an ordinary joe blogs then you are pretty much deemed not to have special insight, in fact you are considered stupid, someone who is to be ‘managed’ because in reality, you can’t be trusted to think for yourself.

This is the arrogance of the political and academic elite; you call it the ‘old boys’ network’ or the ‘glass ceiling’.

The press seem to have subscribed to this idea as they seek to shape public opinion, because in many ways they also think that you as an ordinary punter can’t think for yourselves either, you need their help.

The migrant crisis was the straw that ‘broke the camel’s back’ with British people, it showed clearly that the uncaring, unelected political elite of the EU held the ordinary people of Europe in such utter contempt, it had to be fought against. The situation in Europe may not be getting the same coverage as before, but the bulk of the problems are ongoing.

This story is interesting, it is interesting because it brings down the migrant crisis to a personal level; how it impacts a community and the aftermath.  Vincenzo Lionetto Civa, mayor of Castel'Umberto in Sicily, led a revolt to prevent a few dozen new migrant arrivals from taking up residence in an abandoned hotel Tensions over migration are running high in Italy, and are expected to get worse. There will be violence; the slide towards this is already in motion. I can see a time were European countries will become not just politically unstable but also in terms of social cohesion. If the EU army goes ahead, these people will be used to suppress internal dissent. From these circumstances will come the real slide undoubtedly towards civil war, and all that goes with it, domestic terrorism will be the new threat that develops in future years in Europe!

The Brexit vote was a game changer in British political history as it showed that ‘direct democracy’, the ‘will of the people’ mattered, the result shocked some people but not me. I knew that Britain’s time as a member of the EU had passed its sell by date. The EU had become not an instrument of European unity as parroted by the elites but an instrument of oppression which tolerated no dissent from ‘mere’ member states or their peoples.

The problem is that post result, the losing side haven’t bought into the concept, Britain is leaving the European Union ….. totally. There is no way back, there is no second vote, there is no scenario which will magic the result into never have happened. There is no EU now as far as the people of Britain are concerned; the ‘event’ is over. To see scores of Scotland’s most high- profile academics and politicians calling for last year’s Brexit vote to be overturned is pitiful, it also shows graphically what passes for self interest, denial of the democratic process and greed. The political and academic elite did rather well out of the EU, they were bought off rather cheap, cheap in comparison to their level of support. The EU was rather good at ‘buying’ support in member states of the political and academic elite.

The fig leaf to cover the anti democratic stance is wrapped in fake concern, citing “its disastrous consequences”, to that a gang from the worlds of politics, business, academia and the arts have signed a letter to the press which is said to be breaking a fragile consensus accepting the referendum.


There wasn’t a fragile consensus accepting the referendum ever, to speak in those terms is pretty much disingenuous, we have people like rent a mouth former Labour first minister Henry McLeish; his Liberal Democrat deputy Jim Wallace; deadbeat SNP MEP Alyn Smith; and former Tory MEP Struan Stevenson who aren’t the future, they are the past, their time has come and gone!

If you add in the rest of the gang which is said to be a Who’s Who of Scotland’s intellectual elite, including historians Sir Tom Devine and Chris Smout; former chief medical officer Sir Harry Burns; scientist and Edinburgh University vice-principal Anne Glover; distinguished international jurist Sir David Edward; businessman and diplomat Lord John Kerr; and trade union leader Grahame Smith.

It all adds up to 11 people, plus the rest who were daft enough to fight a battle already fought and lost. After doing Brexit in Glasgow, I stepped away; my job was to get enough votes to add to the total for a win. The Leave Campaign wasn’t perfect by any means but on the ground, a small group of people across Scotland managed to pull off a remarkable result, short of money, short of people and short of time, and despite all this, Scotland delivered a million votes to add to the Brexit pot which helped take Britain out of the 40 plus years of membership.

The Brexit talks are still at the phoney war stage as much as I can tell, but already  Dominic Cummings, the former Vote Leave campaign chief isn’t happy he, unleashed a tirade of criticism on Twitter against the Brexit Secretary. David Davis was branded him “thick as mince, lazy as a toad and vain as Narcissus”. Perhaps Davis needs more help or perhaps the political tree needs shaken up and he needs replaced. The laugh in my opinion is the continued fake growing concern at home and abroad the UK economy is already suffering from crippling uncertainty over its future relationship with its biggest trading partner.

There isn’t uncertainty about a future relationship because in the end, the people with the money will ensure that the political elite ‘fix’ the problem, you see the real leaders of the world aren’t in politics, they are in business.

This part of their letter you will find amusing:

“We see our society, economy and politics becoming ever more undermined due to the impact of Brexit. We recognise a narrow majority voted to leave the European Union, but the disastrous consequences are now becoming ever clearer – every day. Even before the UK has left the EU, we face falling living standards, rising inflation, slowing growth and lower productivity. In a democracy, it is always possible to think again and choose a different direction. We need to think again about Brexit, to have a UK-wide debate about calling a halt to the process and changing our minds.”

This sums up rather nicely the arrogance of the political elite, they are the ones who got it wrong, they are the ones who are out of step, as to their doom and gloom by saying, “we face falling living standards, rising inflation, slowing growth and lower productivity”.

Did any of this never happen while in the EU?

Every working class person has seen a fall in their living standards under the EU, we have been robbed of a decent rate of interest of our savings in the bank, we have seen the rise of food banks, we have seen unemployment, we have seen breakdown in social cohesion. Maybe the rich politicians and academics living in their ivory towers have been shielded by public money from the taxpayer but the rest of us, the ordinary people have suffered greatly.

Their real concern is for their financial self interest.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said:

“In one of the biggest democratic exercises in our history, the British people voted to leave the European Union. The Government is committed to delivering on that mandate, by building a new deep and special partnership with our closest allies and neighbours in Europe”.

The game is over; the new challenge is to be global Britain again, to forge closer links with the Commonwealth.

Yours sincerely

George Laird

The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, July 17, 2017

The wolves are circling around Kezia Dugdale, Scottish Left Review, the influential left-wing magazine calls her leadership of Scottish Labour "woeful"; it is no surprise that Corbyn’s supporters want Dugdale ousted as Scottish Labour leader, but they might have a wait on their hands if SNP support keeps falling

Dear All

Firstly sorry for being away for a bit, I had a few personal issues which burned up my time to the extend that blogging had to be pushed off the agenda.

Anyway I am back!

One of the things which is an open secret is that Jeremy Corbyn's supporters in Scotland want to replace Kezia Dugdale as Scottish Labour leader, the Momentum crowd have an agenda.

The question is not if Kezia Dugdale will go but when, the rather bad and humiliating election of this year has certainly bought her breathing space, after being wiped out in 2015, Scottish Labour being reduced to a single MP, there are now more happy campers planted down in Westminster.

In Glasgow North East, the people rightly saw fit to give Paul Sweeney the nod and make him their representative for the constituency, in politics, the best man doesn’t always win but in this case, he did.

In East Renfrewshire, Scottish Labour went with Blair MacDougall, the former BT Chief, and mistaken put resources in there as well, I saw that as a waste of time, people and money, he limped home in third place.

One of the laughs I had after the North East campaign was seeing this:

Anne McLaughlin who I helped put out on the street apparently cried after losing her seat, perhaps she should have worked hard, faster …… and smarter!

At present, the sum total as I blog this is 14 supporters and a meagre £240 which hasn’t moved in a while, I guess the passion rather fizzled out, 35 days left and nowhere near the £3,000 target. Personally, I have my doubts that Anne McLaughlin will be or should be the SNP Candidate next time round if this parliament goes the full five years.

Back to Kezia, the influential left-wing magazine, Scottish Left Review (SLR) calls the leadership of Kezia Dugdale “woeful”. In their opinion, they are stating quite clearly that problem isn’t just her political leadership but also her personal leadership. They go so far as to say that:

"Labour can’t win in Scotland with Dugdale" and “the left needs to move to remove her and do so soon".

It would be hard to pin the tail on the donkey to say exactly where it all when wrong for Kezia Dugdale, there are so many examples of where she was sitting on the wrong side of history in many important issues. That said if you consider that Scottish Labour is run as a ‘team’, the direction of travel is certainly in the wrong direction so others who advise her also have a part to answer for in this sorry tale.

Do you know the person that says ‘No’ to Kezia Dugdale?

Presumably there must logically be someone who looks at Labour content and says, this idea is bad, and if there isn’t why isn’t there?

The fact that there is now a socialist publication calling for the end of Kezia Dugdale’s leadership, and wants it replaced by the left so they can take control of the party is hardly an eye opener but as the old saying goes when you become the story, it is time to leave.

SLR said Dugdale’s leadership was partly to blame for Scottish Labour not winning more seats that the magazine claimed could have kept the Tories out of power.

Okay, is this true?

The answer is ye!

The key turning point was when Kezia decided to say she could consider voting for independence, this ensured that there would be a Conservative revival in Scotland at the Holyrood 2016 election and also why the Conservatives did so well at the 2017 General election.

That was Kezia Dugdale’s ‘Ratner’s moment’, where she utterly destroyed the Scottish Labour stock price with unionist Labour voters. Jeremy Corbyn's supporters in Scotland are on a mission, they want to "isolate the right-wing careerists" in Labour, I see this as a term which effectively says that ‘party within a party’, although I would imagine this term could apply to those people who got elected and decided that they would sit back on their Labour majorities and do nothing to help the very people who they were elected to serve.

Right wing careerists aren’t just the only problem in Scottish Labour.

Labour MSPs Neil Findlay and Alex Rowley said the party could have won 15 MPs in Scotland if it had toned down its Unionist-focused campaign and promoted Corbyn more.

That is just opinion which I don’t buy into, I gave Alex Rowley a tip during the day he spent on the Glasgow North East campaign, he went into the bookies, my tip was that Paul Sweeney would win that seat, and no one else in Labour would win any other seat in Glasgow. I find it laughable that blame is placed at the door of the "legacy of ‘Better Together", that campaign apart from a few notable exceptions wasn’t ran properly, in fact the spin doctor for Frank Roy who headed up the Brexit Remain campaign said he could spent a lot of time telling people what they wouldn’t be repeating what went wrong in that enterprise.

Better Together’s main problem was that it wasn’t properly supported on the ground by Scottish Labour, something which I commented repeatedly on during the indyref in 2014.

In its editorial, SLR highlighted traditional Labour areas it claimed the party could win seats in if Dugdale was replaced.

It said:

“If Labour had done much better than its extra six seats and 2.8 per cent vote increase – like winning Aberdeen South, Renfrewshire East, Stirling and the Ochils (which they held before but which the Tories took) as well Airdrie and Shotts and Motherwell and Wishaw, the Tories would have had difficulty forming any kind of government. The legacy of Better Together and a politically and personally woeful leadership in the form of Kezia Dugdale are the critical explanatory variables. So it is all very well saying, as left Labour MSPs Alex Rowley and Neil Findlay and others have said, that Labour would have done better in Scotland with more radical approach, namely, empathising Labour’s manifesto, and one less based on opposing indyref2. Logic then dictates that Labour can’t win in Scotland with Dugdale so the left needs to move to remove her and do so soon. Not doing so is to ignore the elephant in the room.”

To address the first point of winning more seats if Dugdale was replaced, this is assuming that the replacement is better, and to be frank, I think this opinion is too subjective to have any real value. The idea that people are voting for Kezia or against Kezia is rubbish, most people don’t and couldn’t name her as Scottish Labour leader. Scottish Labour’s problem doesn’t centre round the failures and bad judgements of a single individual.

This takes credit away from so many who have done so little while in positions of power. Remember when I said pre 2015 that Labour needed a clear out of useless MPs; they failed to act and paid the price.  

Finally, a Scottish Labour source said:

"The author of this editorial is ill-informed and clearly didn't read Kez's manifesto in 2016, which was the most radical in a generation, and has absolutely no understanding of the views of the party membership."

Maybe the verdict of 2016 has relevance as Scottish Labour was pushed into third place at Holyrood, so the manifesto was hardly the golden calf.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Dam is breaking; senior Nationalist Kenny MacAskill attacks Nicola Sturgeon’s husband as "cheerleader-in-chief" for his wife, the internal fighting has only one conclusion, Peter Murrell needs to resign as Chief Executive, fear is racing through the SNP, many MPs, MSPs and staffers face losing their livelihood unless leadership change happens

Dear All

It would be fair to say that Nicola Sturgeon is a wounded animal at present, the wolves are circling around her, not only is her position unsafe, so is the position of her husband, SNP Chief Executive Peter Murrell.

It seems the ‘stalking horse’ to break the Sturgeon/Murrell monopoly of the party is none other than former Justice Secretary Kenneth MacAskill.

Is MacAskill preparing the way for a former MP to be installed as the new SNP Chief Executive?

Is MacAskill preparing the way for a former MP to sown the seeds for a leadership challenge down the line?

Is the fact that a senior Nationalist speaking out a realisation how much damage the Sturgeon brand as done to the party, it isn’t a secret but Nicola Sturgeon is a bad leader.

MacAskill seems to have a goal in his scathing attack on Sturgeon who is the SNP’s top official, he wants him removed and now, I think he is onto something in his comments that Murrell must be more than “cheerleader-in-chief for his spouse”. As I mentioned yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon’s time is up as leader, her new venture of fighting Brexit is nonsense, she cannot affect change, she has no role; she is powerless.

Brexit will happen and there will be no real input from the SNP, that’s a given!

MacAskill is correct on what went wrong in the SNP in that Murrell has over-promoting his wife, but remove Sturgeon from the equation and replace him with Salmond and you see a pattern. The SNP used the ‘cult of the personality’ which focuses on the leader as some kind of semi divine hero of worship who can do no wrong.   

Dictators and despots use this technique in order to promote themselves and silence dissent around them, which is what has happened in the SNP. The SNP is a one man band, everyone else is either a cult member or part of the fringe; the SNP operate as a party within a party. Not only has this backfired with the installation of Sturgeon, but as other commentators beyond MacAskill have stated, it has damaged the independence cause.

The SNP go from one short term gimmick to another, the wider goals have been abandoned, there isn’t talent behind Nicola Sturgeon, although MacAskill likes to kid on that there is.

Is he right to blame SNP chief executive Peter Murrell?

Patently, the answer is yes!

MacAskill said:

“The SNP is bigger and the cause wider than just her [the First Minister]. Focusing on her been both a high-risk and short-term strategy. Others need allowed to blossom.”

Note the use of the word, ‘her’; one can speculate whether this is utter contempt emerging, after the many had built up the party since the change of 2007, the vote going to 50%, it has now been destroyed and sits at 37%.

Further to fall when the election cycle kicks in methinks!

MacAskill like me has become a leading critic of Murrell, his concerns emerged after the SNP lost a third of its MPs in the General Election; mine started when Murrell ignored my complaints and treated me with such utter contempt. Both of us have arrived at the same place but it took MacAskill a considerable time longer to call for Murrell to be replaced.

MacAskill although he talks about the “succession strategy” to replace Murrell, and the need to recruit a deputy with the intention of replacing him in a year, we should think back to Shirley-Anne Somerville after she was kicked out of Holyrood, she was the deputy chief executive before scuttling back to Holyrood. In fact I never saw her job as anything other than give her a pay packet.

MacAskill hits on another problem in his criticism, saying Ms Sturgeon and her husband need to reinvigorate the party’s grassroots campaign. The SNP did run a bad campaign, it was also an arrogant one, in Glasgow; they thought that they had the place sown up after 2015, now they are finding out different.

Every seat held in Glasgow by the SNP is up for grabs, no seat is safe here for anyone, and the fact the vote has dropped dramatically will be a concern for their MPs and staffers who stand a pretty fair chance of ending up on the breadline!

Oh Joy!

It is interesting that MacAskill says that Stories abounded of SNP campaigning errors that would make old stalwarts weep. Although the party got a lot of people joining it, and that increased the number of people who did activism in comparison to others such as Scottish Labour, the numbers weren’t that great. The SNP Cult at its core, ‘users’ of people which is their modus operandi, they hold ordinary members in the main, in contempt.

The general direction of the SNP is backwards now, the idea that activism on the ground can solve the general problem is fantasy, there needs to be a clear out at the top of the SNP to restore confidence.

The complaints and misgivings within the SNP about a husband-and-wife team running the party ever since Ms Sturgeon took over as leader won’t be going away, either Sturgeon goes as leader or Murrell has to be replaced, there is a crisis of confidence. And the crisis is real, there will be another election; there always is but at present heavy losses seem to be more or less unstoppable. The more senior SNP who lose their seats, the more infighting will take place, it has already started.

Finally, it doesn’t stop with the replacement of Murrell; that only buys unpopular Nicola Sturgeon time, her direction of travel is out the door as well; Murrell is just a sandbag to take the political bullets.

The SNP have to start planning for a post Sturgeon era!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University