Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Failing to understand Baby Steps: UKIP says its next job is to abolish Holyrood Parliament by standing for election to it, closing Holyrood isn’t the same as leaving the EU, for one, there is no civic public campaign, no groundswell of public support and the mainstream political parties right across the divide won’t support it, how to wreck a political campaign 101, say something stupid and get it published

Dear All

When Nigel Farage left UKIP, and setup his new party, he effectively sucked the life out of Ukip, election results and voter share was dire. In the wake of Farage’s departure, UKIP couldn’t steady their ship via new leaders. It seemed the party has in a relatively short time gone through leaders like a bushfire in the Oz outback. Post Farage, the leadership has been held by Diane James, Paul Nuttall, Henry Bolton, Gerrad Batten, Richard Braine, and now has Patricia Mountain as the acting leader according to wiki.

Post Farage, the only real chance of moving on was via Diane James. Her leadership started and ended very quickly, a pity because she had presentational skills and presence that others didn’t have.

The only other person who came close was Gerrad Batten who was attacked when he appointed Tommy Robinson as an advisor. The press takes a running interest in Robinson because of his previous EDL links, his reporting of Muslim rape gangs which they mostly ignored in reporting until forced and his background, when the press decide to target you, you can either disappear or take the hits and move on, Robinson hasn’t gone away.

In the upcoming Holyrood 2021, we could see various groups of pro Uk parties take the stage especially vying for the list seats. Whether these groups get organize and split the vote remains to be seen. Already there is talk about one of the pro Uk parties having a revamp to field candidates for Holyrood.

The main interest in Holyrood 2021 is denying the SNP a majority. Majority or not however there will be no indyref 2 post that election, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said no, not while he is PM. I think, we can expect a crowded but will that have a ripple effect. If you look at Scottish Labour in Glasgow, they probably don’t think they can win a first past the post seat, so are banking on getting 4 on the list. But what if a pro UK party can upset their apple cart and they only return 3 seats? I get no sense of urgency about Scottish Labour in terms of being motivated because at present there is a deputy leadership contest between ‘the left’ and ‘the right’, Corbynista Vs Blairite.

In the wake of Brexit, the Scottish Landscape will change; Brexit is coming, and with it seems that Ukip in Scotland has a new mission, abolish Holyrood. 20 years of devolution hasn’t brought forward a better nation, it has been made worse under the SNP. The Parliament at Holyrood is described as a second rate parliament with third rate politicians running it, there is a lot of mileage in that description that people can recognise.

The first question is what chance has UKIP of breaking into the private club?

None in 2021!

They didn’t stand in the Westminster 2019 election in Scotland, they are effectively dead in the water, and the other mainstream pro Uk parties such as the Labour Party, Conservatives, and Lib Dems will not support their view or their mission. Add in no backing from the SNP obviously and the Scottish Greens, or any widespread public support or civic public campaign and you get the picture of them reaching for something well out of reach.

Holyrood is here to stay a shining beacon of failure to deliver, a farce where democracy, the little version is played out in a private club atmosphere, and where the majority of the MSPs are middle class university graduates. The reason that Holyrood won’t get abolished even if UKIP can make a “proper Unionist case” for reverting to the pre-devolution status is greed, Turkeys don’t vote for Xmas and neither do middle class university graduates for unemployment.

UKIP will probably find little support for their cause, a recent Survation poll showing 16 per cent of Scots favour scrapping Holyrood and 13% think it should have fewer powers. And the crucial question was how many of the 16% were Ukip voters. The mentality now in Scotland is how to make devolution work; this is more or less right across the board. When starting a campaign, you must consider what people want, and also temper what you want in some respects; UKIP’s leadership has obviously been carried away with what they want to the exclusion of everything else. 

They are in one policy effectively killing off any chance of winning a single seat.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, January 27, 2020

Sturgeon’s Realisation of Not Being Relevant; SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon sets out failed strategy to garner support from EU 27 states for indyref 2 campaign, attention seeking SNP leader attempts to muscle in on publicity as UK leaves EU, Sturgeon looks tense, needy and wretched as SNP admit Scots don’t support their campaign

Dear All

Having failed to rallied Scots, having failed to sweet talk the UK Government, having failed to deliver a second Scottish independence referendum, Nicola Sturgeon will use the backdrop of Brexit Week to secure a ‘grand alliance of support for indyref2’ from the SNP's "European friends" across the 27 EU member states.

So, what does that mean?

Does it mean, the EU officially will come and give support?

Does it mean the 27 EU as individual nations will come and give support?

Basically no to everything, the grand alliance of "European friends" is a joke; they aren’t going to be the powerbrokers of the EU because the next step of Brexit is trade negotiations. It is highly unlikely that in that sensitive period that the EU having lost the UK as a member already will seek to also lose a trade deal which can affect severely major corporations such as car manufacturers. A huge number of jobs in Germany depend on British customers by German cars, and less we forget about 1 in 7 German cars are sold in the UK.

It is an important market, anyone think that the EU or European nations are doing to tamper with that economy reality, along with all the other goods and services we buy, we buy more from Europe than they do from us. It is the UK which is in a strong position not the other way round.

The panto that SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has set up is going to be a farce; we can expect former politicians, former business leaders, and a whole motley crew who probably couldn’t run a hotdog stand championing her cause.

But in the end, it means nothing, this is as all SNP initiatives generally are, a PR stunt, and having no formal role, Nicola Sturgeon, an attention seeker has concocted a scheme to try and get in on the act. The reality is that she isn’t on the stage, she is in the ‘cheap seats’ watching the parade go by. In some respects she is like the two guys who did a ‘scene’ at the Scottish Parliament, a few minutes of hot air before being dragged off by the relevant authorities or in her case, the next stunt. As we as the alleged grand alliance of "European friends", Sturgeon is promoting the falsehood that if there was an independent Scotland it would be fast-tracked into becoming a new EU member state. Scotland’s debt makes fast track or slow track a distant dream. Of course if there was independence, Nicola Sturgeon would be keen to give away Scotland’s assets like fishing even before EU entry, she is that weak and needy.

Britain formally leaves the Brussels bloc after a relationship spanning 47 years which is all the fault of the EU and its policies, which are anti worker and anti country. If there is an EU Super State down the line, we can expect an EU army, and as I previously said, this will be a suppression force; democracy in the EU is creeping towards an end. Everyone can see it, few are willing to speak out about it. The EU is in the pocket of big business, but due to stupidity in the ‘day job’ the Europeans lost Britain, the cash cow. Now the UK can fund more building of our infrastructure instead of rebuilding Europe while our own services are run down.   

Apparently Sturgeon is due to reveal her strategy to confound the Prime Minister’s cast-iron refusal to facilitate another vote on Scotland’s future. Laughingly, we should remember that that she has nothing that Boris Johnson wants. Boris Johnson is already the leader of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon just ‘manages’ some devolved services. What makes this farce even better is the fool that is Ian Blackford, who leads the Nationalists at Westminster, will meet ambassadors from the EU27 in London to seek to garner their backing for the Scottish Government’s cause. So, what power does an ambassador have, well, they are a listening post for their government abroad, they don’t make policies, they don’t make decisions, they listen and then pass it along their chain of command.

SNP leader Ian Blackford is just delivering a message, and I would assume he has already been given a pre-scripted address. Why pre-scripted, well if you have ever heard this fool speak, you would know why. Asked about the grand alliance proposal on the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland, Blackford said:

“We have to mobilise public opinion. One of the things the FM will be doing is outlining that on Wednesday”.

‘Moblise public opinion’?

That can only mean an admission that Scots don’t want a second referendum.

He added:

“Simultaneously, I will be meeting with EU ambassadors in London to press the case for Scotland’s right to have that referendum and for our European friends to stand with us.”

How do you press a case when the UK Government will not be in the room?

They supposed to read about it on the BBC?

Blackford acknowledged and denied he would ask for official support from the EU as a whole, explaining:

"We would begin a process of engagement with our European friends and [ask them] to keep a light on for us”.

How much more pathetic can these clowns get? A light on for us, not only can they not do so, but even an ordinary member of the public can work that out for themselves. To join the EU, you join a queue, you get vetted and if you don’t get vetoed and pass the finances and other hoops, you get in. But you don’t get in by application on Monday, memebership card the same day.

In a whining admission, he said also:

“One of the things we will be doing is seeking to engage with civic Scotland. I’m grateful many figures in the Labour movement have recognised it is about Scotland's right to choose. Are people in Scotland prepared to sit back and see Government in London ready to ignore their democratic rights? This is the beginning of a process.”

Civic Scotland will no doubt include phoney wee groups that will be setup and run by the SNP members and their cohorts; expect to hear from Business for Scotland, an SNP mouthpiece group. When was the last time the SNP talked about how wonderful nirvana will be in Scotland! Expect tales of ‘we are a wealthy nation’ but at the same time, we are loaded down with debt and can’t pay our way even on the daily spend without the help we get from Westminster.

In recent weeks, we have seen a ‘surge’ from the SNP  idiots talking about indyref 2, Michael Russell, the Scottish Government’s Constitutional Relations Secretary, referred to how the SNP administration had “many options” to further its case for indyref2. But did not elaborate, he won’t tell, it’s all a mystery, even to him.

Mhairi Black, the SNP’s Scotland spokeswoman and well known for using the toilets at Westminster, insisted she wanted another referendum to be done “by the book”. If there is an emergency, the book can be torn up as used as loo roll. Her gaffe on saying that there could still be “mileage” in pushing for an unofficial Catalan-style poll was rather stupid. Humouring an idiot is one thing, when it goes too far, Mhairi Black and the rest of the SNP will find out just how effective the UK Government will be in shutting them down. 

The SNP leadership has not formally ruled out a court challenge but that is more nonsense, if they had a case, they would be off to court toot sweet. But the SNP don’t have a winnable case because referendums are reserved.

Even three in a bed SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has floated the idea of making the 2021 Holyrood poll an effective referendum. That is mighty brave of him but again let’s look at reality here for a minute or two, given the opposition parties have been so weak and ineffective, the SNP might cross that line. If you look particularly Scottish Labour which needs new leadership and reform, they stand at a crossroads in terms of direction, policies and work ethic. 

The SNP as I mentioned might get a majority, not by getting more support to their failing cause but rather due to the continual drop in opposition support. That to me hardly a risk, it is like beating a man with a lead pipe, breaking his arms and legs and then challenging him to a fight, a square go!

A senior Conservative MP said:

“There is absolutely no way Boris is going to allow another referendum. As long as he is in Downing St, it will just not happen.”

Finally, in four days, Brexit will happen, Nicola Sturgeon has lost, all her little schemes will come to nothing, we can expect no chance however in her plans, because she can’t go to the country on her government’s record. Holyrood 2021 will be about indyref 2 for the SNP, in effect, it is the ‘big lie’ strategy, conning the voters for money, power and position. What is needed in Scotland is a new politics, someone to take on the SNP and be right in their face. The main problem is Holyrood, due to the poor quality of some MSPs, they are politically ineffective and have been using the building much like it is a private club, everything is too cosy, no one wants to rocket the boat.

Who is the real people’s champion at Holyrood?

You struggling with that question, you should be!

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Devolution Redesigned and Reloaded; SNP Leader Ian Blackford calls on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to halt Brexit Bill after all three devolved legislatures reject it, the lack of dignity and losers consent has flagged up a constitutional problem which should be tackled by Westminster, when devolved parliaments get turned in ‘hubs for democracy deniers’, either there must be a legal or political fix by Westminster

Dear All

Having lost the Brexit Battle at every stage, the pettiness of the Remain campaign knows no bounds apparently. The UK’s three devolved legislatures have voted not to consent to the Brexit Bill. And it should be noted these devolved legislatures are control by staunch anti Brexit Parties. It is clear that the devolved legislatures in being petty are exercising their right to democracy in voting but they also express complete and utter contempt for the democratic process when it doesn’t suit them.

The idea that they should complain about “unprecedented attack” on devolution is madness and an indictment on the current state of our political class. Democratic elections are designed to create unequal outcomes, this means for some to win, others have to lose, and when they lose they accept the result. Without ‘losers consent’, the democratic process is damaged. And this is what we have here, the damaging of the democratic process by people who clearly hold power but are anti democratic.

No matter what objects the remainers try, what scheme they cook up, we are leaving the EU on the 31st January 2020, this means the EU loses its ‘cash cow’ and we regain our sovereignty. What the political parties lose is networking opportunities for the advancement of the small wealthy elite in terms of power sharing in Europe. This power sharing is beyond democratic accountability, the EU Commission like many other organisations in the EU is designed not to be accountable to the people because it was setup that way.

SNP leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford accused Boris Johnson of being a ‘democracy denier’, clearly the words were chosen careful to create offence. But also they show how we in Scotland have been saddled with such low grade politicians. If anything the SNP by actions, word and history are the party of the democracy denier’. They are willing to take us back into the EU without a referendum, because they want money and power, they think they are somehow ‘global politicians in waiting’ but the reality is the opposite, they backward and inward looking as a group.

The SNP remit at Westminster appears to be based on causing dissent, offence and trouble at every opportunity which is why they are beyond a joke; it’s becoming boring now as seen by mass walkouts when SNP politicians speak. The acrimonious exchanges in the House of Commons show how unsophisticated the SNP MPs are. But as they cause ‘noise’ their impact becomes less, people tune out, so anything reasonable is simply covered up by the constant flow of bile.

The House of Lords the night before had defeated the Government on the Brexit Bill is another example that people will use for reform of the House of Lords. I suspect that measures in the long term will be rushed through in order to ‘payback’ the Lords for their trouble. The talk of an elected second chamber is back on the agenda of this government, in a way the ‘payback’ will be a defeat for all but that’s another story.

The Prime Minister was prepared for after the House of Lords the night before had defeated the Government on the Brexit Bill, backing a move - by just four votes – to underline Westminster’s commitment to the so-called Sewel Convention. This states the UK Parliament "will not normally" legislate for devolved matters without the consent of the devolved legislatures affected.

If the losers consent doesn’t exist then the UK government is under no obligation to honour the so-called Sewel Convention by simply citing that these are not ‘normal times’.

And then press on with Brexit.

SNP leader called on Mr Johnson to “reinstate the Sewel Convention,” telling MPs:

“Devolution is under attack from this Tory Government. Powers are being grabbed back to Westminster. There is no respect for the people of Scotland, for Wales and Northern Ireland, their governments or their decisions. Yesterday, the Welsh Assembly became the third devolved parliament to refuse consent for the Tory Brexit Bill. Why is the UK Government ignoring the principle of consent for our national government?”

Blackford is just a tiresome little man playing politics, he can yap all he likes but in the end after his long winded exchanges, there is a word which covers his objections…. No! He is arguing wrongly that the UK Government doesn’t have the legislative mandate to pursue its Brexit Bill. The opposite is true; the Conservatives have a dual mandate of the 2016 referendum result and the 2019 election, the country has spoken…. Get Brexit Done!

And Brexit will be getting done, but this nonsense opens up a can of worms about how the devolved parliaments operate and their powers. Is there now scope for changing the various acts to ensure that devolved parliaments know their limits and boundaries? I think there is a case for reviewing the various bodies. They are there as part of the UK government structure not a separate part designed to hamper the government on reserved matters.

Brexit is a reserved manner!                     

Ian Black ford added:

“As the benches opposite bray, it’s clear that this place simply doesn’t accept the reality that the Scottish Parliament speaks for the people of Scotland. The devolution settlement must be respected. Prime Minister, all three parliaments and even the House of Lords have called on you to end your Government’s attack on devolution. Will he stop the attack on our parliaments?”

The Prime Minister of the UK speaks for the entire UK; this fact hasn’t been put forcefully enough in the past. Could you imagine if a council in Scotland tried this nonsense on the parliament of Holyrood?

Nicola Sturgeon is merely a cllr plus politician; she isn’t the leader of Scotland.

Boris Johnson picked up on Blackford’s  reference to people saying no.

He told MPs:

“I agreed for a second with him when he said Scotland said no and it meant it and he was right. The people of Scotland said no to independence in 2014 and they meant it because they were told it was a once in a lifetime vote by Alex Salmond and his protégé Nicola Sturgeon, and indeed by him. They were told it was a once in a generation event. The people of Scotland did it because they know full well that £9 billion comes from the UK to Scotland, 60 per cent of Scotland’s trade is with the rest of the UK and they can see the vast investments in manufacturing that comes from the UK to Scotland, whether it’s in Rosyth, £1.5bn in building fantastic ships, or at Govan, fantastic investments in manufacturing.
We support manufacturing in Scotland; they support nothing except manufacturing grievances and they know it.”

Brexit will get done, but it will be a slow process which shows how dysfunctional the devolved systems are making the process. When 17.4 million win a vote, their result should be respected, if there is not a return to losers consent, then matters will have to be fixed politically.  In Scotland, we have seen and are living through political stagnation due to constant calls for referendums, there has to be either a legal or political remedy to stop this nonsense.

Finally, different people will have different remedies how this can be achieved, but how much further must Scotland sink because everyone agrees we have reached a tipping point? What measures need to be done to ‘fix’ Holyrood, we have a dysfunctional government in Scotland and a dysfunctional Parliament being used as political party campaigning vehicles. Is an amendment to the Scotland Act needed, or does the Act need rewritten by Westminster?

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

'Scotland the Brave', it is the pro UK Scots who fight against the SNP injustices, the people of Scotland thought they were getting better education, they didn’t get it, better health services, they didn’t get it, and more opportunities for kids, they didn’t get it, SNP are sacrificing the life chances of future generations of Scottish kids over indyref2

Dear All

Hardly is one election out of the way and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is using Holyrood to drum up support for the next election in 2021, under the guise of setting out her "next steps" on a second independence referendum. 

So, who is this smokescreen for the benefit of since there will be no second independence referendum coming down the tracks?

The SNP Cult who are addicted to money and power.

In a bid to try and recreate the Tsunami that gave the SNP a majority in 2011, the SNP is banking on generating a strategy to have ‘hate votes’. The only problem, the conditions for the ‘next’ Tsunami don’t look as good as the first, you can't keep anger. running all the time without emotional burn out. It seems finally however, the opposition is moving towards hanging the SNP leader on her woeful record in government. Although my fellow deluded Scots will probably keep her in power, she is a politician going nowhere. She might set out her ‘next steps’ but the refusal of Boris Johnson to grant Holyrood the power to hold a new vote will see the rot set in post 2021 election internally within the wider party.

The opposition has come late to the party in so many ways it beggars belief, it has been for some time ‘civic’ pro UK Scotland that has held the SNP to account, with the odd ray of light by a politician here and there.  Nicola Sturgeon will give MSPs her response to Boris Johnson's refusal to grant Holyrood the power to hold a new vote; that is irrelevant. The opposition needs to stop being lured in the SNP indy trap, and refuse to engage in any indy debate, instead focusing entirely on the Scottish domestic agenda and the SNP record of managing that agenda.

The ‘statement’ by Nicola Sturgeon is expected just hours before Scotland is taken out of the EU on January 31. Scottish people not Scotland took part in the UK wide vote in 2016 to leave the EU and a million Scots voted to leave. Scotland didn’t vote as a country, this lie is continually fed to Scots by the press and the SNP. Now, that trouble is coming, the SNP idea is to focus on Sturgeon and her alone as a saviour; it may seem to some that Sturgeon displays the classic signs of a narcissist. Her continual ‘look at me’ is a sign of someone who knows they are of no worth.

The SNP have even got parts of the press to buy into this ‘cult of the personality’ rubbish, but we should remember her record as an MSP, Minister and as First Minister; it is a dreadful tale of failure and neglect. Her efforts to ‘rouse the rabble’ and direct them against Westminster is in part to stop them turning on her. Once it finally sinks in that Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP Cult has played the Nationalist movement and won’t deliver, the fireworks should be quite interesting to watch. People like Alex Neil calling for a 'consultative' vote is a sign that people are growing weary of Sturgeon, and guess what, no 'consultative' vote will go ahead or be seen as legitimate.

Sturgeon has said she wants Indyref2 in the second half of this year, and hinted she has a plan to overcome the UK Government's resistance. She might have a plan but she doesn’t have control of Westminster. And the UK Government with a thumping majority isn’t going to cave to her. She might go the courts, she might try being disruptive, but the power lies in elsewhere. No Section 30 order is being granted in 2020 nor will be in any of the future years of this term for Westminster. Westminster can wait out Nicola Sturgeon because time is now against her.

Literally Nicola Sturgeon has nothing Boris Johnson wants.

If you look at the Scottish Conservatives, they seem to still be planning to take a shot of knocking Sturgeon off as king of the hill, whether they will have the human resources to achieve this is questionable. It will be a hard slog to turf out the SNP and that requires constant local campaigning on the ground. Are the Scottish Conservatives up for that challenge because just turning out at elections won’t cut it if they want government! This is the time of deep campaigning in the long campaign.

I can understand Boris Johnson’s tactic in waiting Sturgeon out, by refusing to play along with her, he wants her crowd to turn on her; the cracks are already there with Salmond and Sturgeon. And as we have seen her crown is now being looked at by others wanting it, members of the Court of King Alex allegedly have been eyeing it up. If you want to see how low some people will sink for monmey then I suggest looking at SNP Brexit Secretary Michael Russell. He has suggested a legal challenge against the UK's refusal may be possible, but legal experts last week warned this would be highly unlikely to succeed. You doubt have to be a legal expert to know that the tail doesn’t wag the dog which is what the SNP seems to think.

The 2014 indy vote was a once-in-a-generation vote that means 30 years.

When the 30 years are up, the current crop of senior SNP politicians will be resting six feet under or maybe in a care home, drugged up and saliva dribbling down their mouth.  Although Scotland’s place in the UK is protected, what the UK can’t protect is Scots from high tax and high damage to public services by the SNP. Scottish people are doing to have to do that job themselves, and steel themselves to that task because it is our fight. Alex Salmond will probably get a State Funeral in Moscow, Nicola Sturgeon shoved in a bag and buried in Portugal, next to her cats.

Oh to be a fly on the wall in 30 years time!

Injecting a ‘spec of reality’, SNP MP Kenny MacAskill has said the chance of Indyref 2 this year is "likely nil". Former SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson last week admitted it would not happen, but buffoon Ian Blackford is shouting like it’s happening soon. Why the difference in views? Blackford is a political fool, his reputation is hanging round his waist, and apparently getting bigger; I doubt he has 30 years in him to hang around for another defeat.

Sturgeon's official spokesman said:

“Next steps will be outlined next week. FM will seek to update before the end of the month, as she indicated. we’re committed to what was put forward in our manifesto at the election a matter of weeks ago. That’s what people have voted for, that’s what people have endorsed. It’s incumbent on us to try to deliver what people have voted for.”

The people of Scotland thought they were getting better education, they didn’t get it, better health services, we didn’t get it, and more opportunities for kids, we didn’t get that either, what we did get was stagnation. The SNP’s general election manifesto said:

“It must be for the Scottish Parliament not Westminster to decide when an independence referendum should be held - and the SNP intends that it will be in 2020.”

Finally, that isn’t a promise; it is a part of a wish list which Nicola Sturgeon can’t deliver. When will Scottish people wake up and learn the brutal hard truth? The SNP don’t care for working class Scots, they never did. The working classes are being systematically shut out of higher education in favour of rich foreign students which plays perfectly into the SNP immigration agenda, which is why they do nothing about it.

Scotland, the brave are the pro UK Scots who fight against the SNP injustices.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Monday, January 20, 2020

The Two Horse Scottish Labour Race; Labour MSP Jackie Baillie storms into being named front runner in Scottish Labour deputy leader race as three candidates make next round, Ballie get 60 nominations, double her nearest rival, this election is a minor contest, but it is essential for the long term health of the Scottish Labour Party as a viable political entity

Dear All

It is always nice to be the front runner, in an election but that doesn’t mean you can just sit back and coast. Jackie Baillie looks to be the favourite of the Scottish Labour deputy leader contest after she gained a healthy 60 nominations. Glasgow councillor Matt Kerr took 33 nominations, Glasgow MSP Pauline McNeill managed 17 and Dundee councillor Michael Marra did not meet the nominations threshold. Michael Marra is related to Jenny Marra, the MSP; his failure means he doesn’t to make it to the next round. I suspect his failure is more due to his low profile and distance from the central belt.

If you don’t find this race to be exciting, it is because at this stage, the wider membership doesn’t get a look in at present. Of the 60 nominations for Baillie, 48 came from councillors, 11 from fellow MSPs and one from Scottish Labour's only MP, Ian Murray. To appear on the member's ballot, candidates will now have to win nominations from at least 5% of Scottish Labour's constituency Labour parties or three affiliated organisations.

The low polling of Glasgow MSP Pauline McNeill is bad news for her, the chances of her winning now seem remote and that means she has no chance of getting the top spot of the Glasgow list for Holyrood. Glasgow MSP Pauline McNeil will have to do the hard slog of campaigning for votes in what might be a very crowded field for the list. Depending on voter intentions and and the political situation more or less remain the same, the Scottish Labour Party in Glasgow is looking for 4 list seats. It is highly doubtful they will win any first past the post, despite the talk of renewal of the party, it is highly unlikely anything remotely positive will be brought in before Holyrood 2021.

Scottish Labour has a habit of doing reviews and then nothing changes!

So, we are looking at a two horse race, between Jackie Baillie and Glasgow councillor Matt Kerr. Jackie Baillie is the more experienced, she is the more polished performer and she is a proven winner, you would think this would make her an obvious choice. But Scottish politics doesn’t seem to work that way, dreadful people who are inept sometimes get elevated and bring the entire party down. This is the scenario which has been played out in the leadership of this party for nearly two decades. And with a push towards federalism it is a party which is in ‘train terms’ heading for a ‘siding’, how long it will be parked there is anyone’s guess. But the change to come out of the siding is that federalism has no traction with the people of Scotland.

You are either in the Indy camp, fake independence control by the EU or full pro UK!

The journey that Scottish Labour wants to play with federalism is much like a state of unawareness of the mood of the electorate; some in Scottish Labour think federalism will return Labour voters back to the fold. The people of Scotland have been crying out for a social change agenda. Scottish Labour instead wants to offer them something they didn’t ask for, something they don’t want, and something which will not revive the party’s own fortunes.

When Jim Murphy did his ill fated 2015 election campaign, he started his campaigning complaining about Scottish couldn’t get a pint at a football game and repeal of the fitba act. Neither of these issues were the province of Westminster. Literally he was treating the voters with a kind of contempt which in retrospect he should have known better. Does the booze and fitba act fit into the social change agenda that Scots cried out for?


So, why did he run his campaign with this?

The fact is that Scottish Labour has spent too much time telling people what they want to give them rather than what they are asking for. The mentality of ‘we are managers’ of the people puts them at odds with what they were elected to be servants of the people. This is why Scottish Labour struggles to win seats never mind elections. They aren’t willing to compromise the mentality that cost them any chance of government. This is why a cull is needed in Scottish Labour, and if the cull has to be deep and right back to the bone, it should be.

Baillie said on her success: 

"I am delighted to see so many of my Scottish Labour colleagues putting their faith in me to become the next deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party and I thank them for their support. Over the next few weeks, I will be travelling the length and breadth of the country, listening to the views of members and supporters. For Scottish Labour to win again, we must first understand the reasons for our losses. I have seen, first hand, the positive change that Scottish Labour can make to individuals, communities and our country, when we are in power. I look forward to working alongside members in the fight to rebuild our Party and regain the trust of Scots everywhere."

If elected the main task for her will be to addressed and reform Scottish Labour and how it works, and if this means a clear out of staff, then so be it, when you keep changing the ‘manager’ and the Team keeps losing, you have to review the whole operation. Scottish Labour has had leaders from the left and Right but still they keep losing, clearly there is a problem. Jackie Baillie needs to be the candidate that can bring unity to the Scottish Labour Party. It will not be an easy task.

In a recent article, former Labour MP Paul Sweeney wrote about Scottish Labour’s constant infighting. He hit out at the “relentlessly malicious briefings and leaks” being targeted at leader Richard Leonard, and said his party must “refocus” and come together for the sake of the Scottish electorate. He also said something which I have blogged on continuously, Scottish Labour need to focus on the domestic agenda.

He said:

“I find it extraordinary that there isn’t an effective opposition in Holyrood, which could have wiped the floor with the SNP by now. We need to get back on to the domestic agenda. There are a litany of issues, around health, education, justice. The ‘SNP bad’ response is not cutting any ice the way it used to. People are now seeing that things are not good”.

Pointing out how things are bad however is not enough, to be seen to be a government in waiting you have to provide solutions and not just during the six week of an election period. It is true there isn’t an effective opposition being led against the SNP in Holyrood, and hasn’t been for nearly over a decade.

Finally, any vote for any other candidate other than Jackie Baillie is in my opinion a wasted vote, all sections of the party need to have a voice, and it will not come from having two Corbynistas at the top. If Jackie Baillie is not elected as deputy leader, chances of unity are nil, chances of winning seats back are low, and chances of winning a Holyrood election are a distant dream. Another issue which needs to be addressed is Richard Leonard raising his game on policy and presentation, maybe then Scottish Labour becomes viable once and if the internal reforms are done.

UPDATE; Pauline McNeill drops out of race. 

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Friday, January 17, 2020

Scottish Labour Needs Jackie Baillie for Deputy; minor bun fight for Scottish Labour hots up as failed Corbynista poster boy Labour Cllr Matt Kerr enters the race for Scottish deputy leadership, he says he wants to "empower a new generation in the party's grassroots", given he didn’t empower Pollok CLP to turn this failing CLP around, does a history of failure qualify as a recommendation to be deputy leader, or does he simply want an easy route to the top MSP list position in Glasgow?

Dear All

Despite the main focus being on the UK leadership posts up for grabs, there is also a minor contest being held in Scotland for the post of Scottish Labour Deputy which Lesley Laird resigned from after losing her seat. So, far, it appears that there are four people standing for the post, Jackie Baillie who is the clear favourite in my opinion, Pauline McNeill MSP, Michael Marra, a Dundee Councillor and Glasgow councillor Matt Kerr. In an ideal world, that election should be won by Jackie Balllie because both sides of the Labour should be represented at the top of the Scottish leadership.

Given that the Corbyn experiment has failed due to isolationism and the views of others not tolerated having two Corbynitas as Scottish leader and deputy leader will not work. I think wider appeal is needed, because if others don’t have a voice, don’t be surprised if also they feel that they shouldn’t be involved. A Leonard and Kerr team won’t turn Scottish Labour back into a winning campaigning machine. In the first paragraph of his Tribune article called Renewing Scottish Labour, Cllr Kerr starts by writing:

“In 2017, I was 60 votes away from turning my corner of the city red again but now, after our bruising defeat last month, we find ourselves having to ask some difficult questions”.

Matt Kerr’s result in 2019 was brushed under the carpet, because unlike the 2017 result where Team Kerr was 60 votes away, 2019 saw Team Kerr getting worse and losing by 4900 votes.

If you want to renew Scottish Labour, the first thing to acknowledge is the truth, and not a modified version to suit ambition. I found his Tribune article to be disconnected with reality, especially when he says he is standing to "empower a new generation in the party's grassroots". Since his failure in 2017, he hasn’t empowered Pollok CLP which you would think would be central to his pitch. After all he is talking about leadership and being a senior Labour leadership prospect. Pollok CLP is a CLP which hasn’t been turned around, Cllr Kerr hasn’t managed to create unity after his nomination in a bad tempered race.

Not only does Cllr Kerr not have the ability to empower a new generation, he doesn’t empower the old generation so I don’t think the Corbyn poster boy equals the ‘new generation’ either but rather the tail off of the failed Corbyn experiment. I had a look at his campaign election photos; they are full of people who don’t attend Pollok CLP meetings. Cllr Kerr relied on other people to do his campaign, As I blogged previously, I did some days on his 2017 campaign, I found him to be un-professional. In the Johann Lamont campaign of 2016, I rarely saw Cllr Kerr turn up as an activist, there at the start and there at the end, not seen by me in the bulk of the campaign, and I did a considerably amount of days on that campaign.

You have to wonder for someone who harks about the good old days in his pitch to be 'the future', why the mixed messages, is it that he has nothing really to say about the future?

He said:

"The Scottish Labour Party must understand that politics happens in every community, not just political chambers. There was a time when the Labour Party was the community - it was Labour members and activists who ran community centres, advice centres and supported neighbours in their time of need. Over decades the party has submitted to a hierarchical structure, where those who are privileged enough to hold political office believe they should become all-powerful, and members and activists are only encouraged to support candidates at election time. And as our party's democratic structures eroded, so did the trust placed in us by our communities. I am committed to helping Labour, and will work alongside (Scottish Labour leader) Richard Leonard and every different section of our party to ensure every member has a voice. Building up the confidence of our membership and encouraging them to become more active in their communities is what will help us to rebuild trust where it has been lost."

Where Cllr Kerr really loses the plot is his notion that the party must develop its own option for the constitution.

The Labour Party gave us devolution and look how that turned out for them and us, clearly when it comes to the constitution, the way for the party is strengthening itself and be clearly seen as pro UK.

He said:

"I am against independence because I think it will prolong and intensify austerity and that it will be working people who will pay the price. The economic reality of independence and the hair-brained plans for the currency really will jeopardise the life chances of far too many people for at least a generation. Even the SNP's own Growth Commission recognises this. But we are democratic socialists and it's no longer good enough to say that we think the Westminster Government should block a democratic mandate if it emerges. Doing so plays into the hands of the SNP. Moving forward, Labour must separate the process of indyref2 from the substance of independence itself”.

He added:

"We must say, quite clearly, that we will campaign against independence but not argue for blocking another referendum if that's what the people of Scotland decide they want. Critically, Labour has to develop its own option for the constitution. Scotland cannot afford the status quo any longer but the solution to the current situation is not independence. We have to develop and present our plans for a stronger Scottish Parliament with new powers within a stronger, fairer and better UK.

Finally; on the one hand, Matt Kerr talks about not playing into the hands of the SNP; then puts forward options which do exactly that by saying Labour shouldn’t block Nicola Sturgeon’s neverendum.


He then supports the SNP stealth strategy of getting the Scottish Parliament new powers. 

Are these the tactics which are going to increase Labour votes and representation or are they the framework for turning Labour into another proxy vessel for the SNP to use just like the Scottish Greens?

Pollok CLP has been looking for leadership as far back as the Herald article of 2012 which called it the worst CLP in Scotland. In the years between 2012 when the article was written to 2020, you could argue not much has changed. Where was the leadership of Cllr Matt Kerr to turn round that CLP? If you can’t setup fixed workdays to get campaigning done in the long campaign in Pollok CLP, doesn’t anyone serious think that deputy leadership of Scottish Labour would be in a safe pair of hands with Matt Kerr at the wheel?

Or would his tenure be a #KerrCrash waiting to happen?

I will be voting for Jackie Baillie for deputy leader of the Scottish Labour Party.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Making A Choice; Lisa Nandy and Angela Rayner should be the next leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party, it is time to think outside the box, and move the party towards a new way of thinking at the top and at the bottom, sometimes you just have to wipe the slate clean, also time for a new arrangement between the Labour Party and the Scottish Labour Party, now is no time for dogma

Dear All

Some people like me believe that the Scottish Labour Party should be a separate party but for different reasons, some want unrestricted and unchecked power, some are closet Nationalists seeking indy and some like me believe a separate party is needed in the devolution era. London Labour control doesn’t work for Scottish Labour, it is counter-productive and even harmful.

The recent Labour leadership contest and the pronouncements of the candidates show clearly, they don’t understand the political and social dynamics in Scotland. The main problems to a separate party separate party are ‘closet Nationalists’ who need to be removed, and lack of talent in the elected ranks. If I ask you to name the Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet you would probably be stumped, the reason why is that they haven’t distinguished themselves in their work.

I can name Richard Leonard because he is the leader and Monica Lennon because she is truly dreadful and a loose cannon. The rest, I have no clue about because they like the Scottish Party have made no real effort to exploit their briefs. You would think in the big portfolios that the shadow health, education and justice ministers would be household names, but you would be wrong.

Scottish Labour isn’t just ineffective as a campaigning machine as the elections from 2007 onwards show; they are also ineffective in the chamber of Holyrood.

This link gives you access to the list of Bill which has been passed at Holyrood, other than the repeal of the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, where are the others? What has happened is the Scottish Labour has meekly allowed Holyrood in the main to be turned into a rubber stamp for SNP Bills only, and they have simply gone along with that with the exception of the ‘fitba’ bill repeal. Of course there are other Bills in the works, but like a roundabout the best that Scottish Labour can do is just go round and round in circles.

Holyrood is like a student union debating chamber.

George Galloway has a good turn of phrase; he referred to the current Labour leadership contest as a ‘donkey derby’.

If it is a donkey derby down south, one wonders what George Galloway would make of the situation in Scotland? The lack of talent, work ethic, leadership isn’t a new thing in Scotland, but the morass seems endless because ‘cometh the hour’ cometh no one. Scottish Labour is a party so downtrodden and lost that it has forgotten its purpose. Not only are they seen as the ‘branch office’ by the London Labour elite, they aren’t held in high esteem which is why we have seen the sewage pour out of the mouths of the candidates for UK Labour leader. As part of his pitch to be the deputy leader, Ian Murray, the sole Scottish Labour MP has said senior figures such as shadow chancellor John McDonnell should “never again” come up to Scotland and change the party’s constitutional position without telling anyone.

And he is right on this, his direct plea to Labour’s leadership candidates to stay out of Scottish politics if they don’t know what they are talking about is something which anyone who understands what is going on up here should tell them.

When you listen to John McDonnell MP, you get two things, one he doesn’t understand Scottish politics and two; he doesn’t understand the internal dire straits of the Labour Party in Scotland.

Personally, I would like to read the leaked report of Lesley Laird in full because I am sure that this is a document which could be added too. Although Ian Murray is right when he says that party must “never again face both ways on the big issues of our time”, he isn’t in my view a favourite to win the deputy leader slot, the smart money I suspect will be on Angela Rayner.

There are five candidates left in the main leaders race, looking at the candidates, I would be tempted to back Lisa Nandy as an outsider. Keir Starmer doesn’t impress me and Rebecca Long-Bailey is just thick, Jess Phillips may sound like a scheme Ned buts he is a middle class wolf in working class clothing, as to Emily Thornberry, she comes across as just disingenuous and despicable. I for one am not buy her as leadership material.

So, if I decide to vote in the main UK election, I would go with Lisa Nandy and Angela Rayner because they seem the best available people on the ballot paper. Whether these people can do what is necessary is another matter, after all plenty to fix down south without even looking at the Scottish problem. One thing for certain is major change is needed and that includes getting rid of some staffers of the Corbyn era.

Seamus Mline and Karie Murphy have to be removed.

On the other runners for deputy, the full list is Angela Rayner, Ian Murray, Rosena Allin-Khan, Dawn Butler and Richard Burgon.

Richard Burgon backs Rebecca Long-Bailey presumably this is a tactical choice for his possible advancement because it certainly isn’t going to work for the party. Burgon got where he is because the rest of the Labour Party refused to serve in a Corbyn Cabinet. The Labour MPs refused to serve for a variety of reasons, but a main one was the way that complaints were handled, especially anti-Semitism.

Finally, it is interesting that Labour people are writing reports on Labour’s failures, we have had the Lesley Laird Report, we have Labour Together going a report and we now have a report being written by Ian Murray which he told supporters he would present to the party’s September conference on how Labour can win again. So many in the Labour Party appear to have the knowledge on how to make the Labour Party better which begs the question, why didn’t they impart their knowledge beforehand?  

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University